Call for papers
ECREA Radio Research Conference 2019: Radio as a Social Media: community, participation, public values in the platform society.
19-21 September 2019
University of Siena (Italy)
The next conference of the Radio Research Section of ECREA will be held at the Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences of the University of Siena, from 19 to 21 September 2019. The 2019 theme is: Radio as a Social/Convivial Media: community, participation, public values in the platform society.
In the age of platformization of culture (Nieborg & Poell 2018) every media is being turned into a digital platform and every audience is being datafied and commodified. What is the role of radio within this new media ecosystem? Tim Wu (2011) showed how radio broadcasting too was eventually colonized by the ethos of profit, but along its history the radio medium has been able to partially escape its commodification and it has carved out a social role as a public service media and as a community/civic media, more open to audience interaction and participation than television and print media used to be.
In a media ecosystem increasingly shaped by algorithms, radio is the only medium that still has a relevant analogue component, especially in non-western areas of the world. The relevance of analogue broadcasting is not only a residual practice but could be also framed as a space of freedom, a practice of resistance to the process of platformization.
“Radio as a social media” is the theme of the 2019 ECREA Radio conference. What does it mean to be a “social media” in the era of digital “social media”?
Our proposal is that radio, in order to be “social”, needs to be “convivial”, in the sense proposed by Ivan Illich in its work “Tools for Conviviality” (1973), which also inspired the first hackers and makers of home computer’s history.
Conviviality is a concept that was introduced by Ivan Illich (1973). He imagined a world where people had an open relationship with the material world surrounding them, including the technologies they used: ‘I choose the term ‘conviviality’ to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment’ (1973, p. 11). Conviviality is about being vigorously engaged in relationships, conscious of values and meanings. For Illich, a convivial technology was a tool that people could manipulate, transform, adapt and control. Convivial tools are ‘those which gave each person who uses them the greatest opportunity to enrich the environment with the fruits of his or her vision’ (1973, p. 21). Conviviality according to Illich revolves around the idea of free and equal access to empowering tools.
Conviviality, as David Gauntlett noted, “is therefore about having the power to shape one’s own world. Illich makes it clear that individuals must retain this power – society must not seek to drain it from them” (2011, p. 168).
Is it still possible a social/convivial use of radio in the age of proprietary algorithms-driven journalism and music consumption?
This conference aims at gathering together all the scholars that are currently exploring, from different and/or interdisciplinary perspectives, the complex entanglement between radio/audio/digital media and society.
The conference will try to situate radio studies within the broader contemporary media ecosystem and aims at starting a dialogue with and accepting contributions from Internet Studies, Platform studies, Social Media studies, critical political economy of the media, Media History, digital media management, Cultural Studies, production studies, ethnography, sound studies, social sciences.
ECREA Radio Research 2019 is not only a conference, it wants to be also a festival. A festival for the community of scholars with an interest in radio.