CFP: Cosmopolitanism, Media And Global Crisis

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Kingston University London
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In the last three decades the field of media studies has witnessed an exponential growth of publications and research on globalization, alongside critical examinations of the “national” in terms of media systems, content and reception. Even more recently, there has been an increasing critical interest in the ways in which global processes, and especially the global circulation of media texts, can encourage a cosmopolitanist outlook or identity for citizens across the world. As a concept that responds both to the global and the national in denoting the ability ‘to be able to live in both the global and the local at the same time’ (Tomlinson 1999), cosmopolitanism is increasingly seen as an alternative ideological response to globalisation, even as the latter has been increasingly associated with ideas of crisis, disaster, terrorism, and risk. Authors like Beck (2006) have insisted that we have now become cosmopolitans by default whether we want to or not, thanks to the same media images we all are simultaneously witnessing, but our ‘latent cosmopolitanism’ is only triggered into an active attitude when faced with global risks and crisis. Similarly, the extent to which media images of ‘distant suffering’ (Boltanski, 1999), can manage to successfully trigger an ethics of cosmopolitanism has been the focus of many other authors (e.g., Chouliaraki 2006, Silverstone 2006).

Despite this growing interest, the field remains far from saturated, especially in terms of empirical research and the practical application of the theory in media studies. Cosmopolitanism is, without doubt, still a much contested concept, and so are the ways in which it can be useful in media studies as a conceptual, analytical and methodological tool. This conference aims to contribute to this growing field of scholarship by bringing together relevant research which explores and examines the relationship between cosmopolitanism and media in an increasingly fragmented, globalising world. A central focus of the conference is the potential role of the media in providing a cosmopolitanist outlook for its audiences, encouraging or discouraging cosmopolitanist identifications, especially when engaging with global crisis and disasters. We would like to focus on questions that have not been as frequently asked. For example, how do cosmopolitan media discourses intersect with other discourses, such as those of the nation, gender or class? Can other popular media texts, besides news, also contribute to cosmopolitanism, or is this debate only limited to hard news and their representation of distant suffering? How can we employ cosmopolitanism as an analytical and methodological category in media research and what are the issues we are facing when employing cosmopolitanism in media studies? Is cosmopolitanism restricted to Western media theory and cultural production, or can there be a postcolonial, ‘cosmopolitanism from below’?

Possible topics include (but are not restricted to) the following:
• Cosmopolitanism and Media Ethics
• Mediating Pain and Suffering
• Cosmopolitanism and global fictional narratives (film, TV, fiction)
• Application of theory and Issues of methodology
• The cosmopolitan memory
• Celebrity compassion and media
• Cosmopolitanism, the national, and/or postcolonial
• Cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism
• Cosmopolitanism, consumerism and media
• ‘The Shock Doctrine’, Disaster, and Globalisation
• Disaster Marathons and live coverage
• Consumer Society and the Commodification of Trauma

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Abstract Submission
500-word abstracts should be submitted using the online form.

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