Call for Papers for volume 7, n° 2(14)/ 2014 ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies How does Gender
Call for Papers for volume 7, n° 2(14)/ 2014
ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies
How does Gender matter? Analyzing media discourses, media organizations and media practices
Margreth LŰNENBORG (Director of the International Centre of Journalism, Free University of Berlin, Germany)
Daniela ROVENTA-FRUMUSANI (Head of the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Communication, University of Bucharest, Romania)
Using the concept of gender as a crosscutting principle underlying all aspects of social life (work, family, religion, migration, research, etc.) we intend to highlight the gender dimension of social life, a major phenomenon ignored for a long time (some researchers such as Marcel Mauss identified the division by gender as a fundamental matrix even if most sciences: from sociology to medicine were gender blind). The "liquidity of the modern society" (Bauman) also marked the concept of gender, floating "between social sex", "gender relations" or "gender difference" understood as a socio-anthropological difference constructed and disseminated through standards and customs both practiced by and distributed via media. Entered fully into the social sciences (sociology and history in the first place), the gender is built conceptually in a wide range of feminist theories (universalists, differentialists, Marxists, radicals, deconstructionists, culturalists, queer) as a "differential valence" (Françoise Héritier) which provides / prospects on "the genesis and transmission of inequality and gender and sexual hierarchies" (I. Thery, 2010); gender is a relevant but not single dimension of social and cultural inequality as discussed in the concept of intersectionality.
The approach in terms of gender represents a paradigm shift in the Kuhnian sense, since it involves the radical transformation of social representations and collective values and norms, transformation correlated with the democratization of societies and promotion of the equality principle.
"Gender is a socially imposed division of the sexes. It is the product of social relations of sexuality. Kinship systems are based on marriage. They transform males and females in men and women". (Gayle Rubin, 1975/1998).
In accordance with feminist methodology breaking with the epistemic ideal of "objectivity" to use the grounded theory rooted in the field, observation and data collection in situ, we are interested in papers referring to the analysis of the gendered structures and gendering practices of media images, media discourse and media practices.
In the theoretical tradition of Luce Irigaray articulations and modalities of communication distinguish male and female discourse. If speaking is never neutral to resume Luce Irigaray, we think we believe that the issues related to the use of discourse and media genres in the "feminine" media are as important as the presence / absence of women in mainstream media, especially in the news. The findings are that men and women do not use language in a similar way therefore demonstrates that language is gendered. The feminist theorists assert that it would be possible to create new forms of female thought, transforming the structures of the traditional way of thinking, because "it is not enough to change certain things in the horizon that defines human culture, but to change the horizon itself" (Luce Irigaray, 1992: 36). Yet these changes of horizon include both the change in the message, change of media production and obviously change the public.
Following Judith Butler's concept of performativity of sex and gender (1990, 1993), we need to go beyond the essentialist concepts of "femininity" and "masculinity". Thus distinctions between "male" and "female" writing, talking or reading are seen as obsolete. How can we then analyse distinct concepts of writing, journalistic production, public forms of articulation? How do we conceptualize the relationship of gendered media practices, media images and social constructions of gender?
Angela McRobbie (2009) refers to the term "Postfeminism" when critically discussing how originally feminist approaches to new gender relations have been instrumentally incorporated into popular culture. Thus we need to ask how to analyse the relationship of popular culture and changing gender orders.
Both Francophone and Anglophone approaches and concepts discussed in the field of gender studies refer to distinct theoretical framework, but offer complex opportunities for bridging academic cultures. We thus are interested in theoretical and empirical work going beyond well-established concepts of explanation and interpretation.
Analyses can be addressed (without excluding other possible approaches and angles) to:
i) Gender / women's issues as topics of the mainstream media (such as the unemployment of women, female migration, female poverty, health etc.) and the journalistic treatment of these issues: scientific, sensationalist or trivialized in the print and online media;
- the manner of articulating the iconic and verbal text in the case of the representation of different sexes in the same referential area (sportswomen fragmented and connoted in the mode of appearance: emotion, aestheticism and sportsmen in the mode of being: prize, victory; in the field of politics the gendered conceptualization of power and success, the representation of political bodies etc.)
- the impact of the message on the public;
ii) the thematic and organizational modes of discourse (narrative, argumentative, descriptive) in the "feminine" media (correlated or not to post-feminism, to backlash of feminism or to ordinary anti-feminism);
- the hybridization of genres and types of discourse by intertextuality / intersemioticity/ plurimodality.
iii) the gendered practices of and by digital media: modes of incorporation of media practices into professional habits and routines as well as into 'private' lifeworlds; the use of digital media in protest cultures (e.g. FEMEN).
The selected study corpus may be represented by all forms of media content including press, audio-visual media as well as online communication (electronic journals, personal blogs, professional blogs, etc.). Analyzing practices and discursive strategies of media in their constitutive relationship to gender structures in society we propose interdisciplinary reflections bringing together sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, linguists and semioticians, researchers from information sciences, media and communication, interested gender images, actions and aspirations.
The field of gender studies has been a work in progress for more than forty years not only in Western countries, but also in non-European space. Gender studies develop complex theoretical perspectives, innovative methodologies evolved into practices (e.g. action research), and practices are used within and outside of academia. Our volume participates in the global movement of de-westernization of research and denaturalization of 'gender hierarchy' building a new reflexivity with the ultimate goal of emancipation.
The analysis in the context of "situated knowledge" located at the intersection of political, economic and social 'redistribution' (absent from the public debate) and the policies of the specific claims of national or cultural minorities 'recognition' could show how identity minorisation goes hand in hand with the socio-economic discrimination in inertia of gender roles produced by the institutions of socialization.
As we are now in a century characterized by "fast and furious developments in media products, technologies and institutions" (K. Ross, 2009) it becomes essential to re-examine in a critical perspective the concepts of media representation, media discourse, media practice bridging media culture and academy. We especially aim at bringing together the Anglophone research as well as the Francophone research in the field.
– February 15, 2014: submission of the proposal in the form of an abstract of 400-500 words. The proposal must include a list of recent references;
– March 30, 2014: acceptance of the proposal;
– July 15, 2014: full paper submission;
– September 30, 2014: full paper acceptance.
Papers should be between 6,000-10,000 words in length. Papers can be submitted in English or French. The abstracts should be in English and French, max. 200-250 words followed by 5 keywords. Please provide the full names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of all authors, indicating the contact author. Papers, and any queries, should be sent to:
Authors of the accepted papers will be notified by e-mail. The journal will be published in December 2014.
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