Media and Communication Research Webinar Series by global stalwarts begins on August 3

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By Dr. Uma Shankar Pandey

The disciplinary boundaries of media and communication studies have become quite fuzzy in recent years. From cultural studies to computational methods in communication, from anthropological studies to algorithmic analyses, from development communication to organizational studies, from health communication to instructional communication, there are a huge number of interdisciplinary approaches to media and communication research. Silvio Waisbord in his recent book even called Communication a post-discipline. A good indicator of the plurality of the theoretical domains and methodological approaches in media and communication studies is the diversity of sections and working groups in the premier associations in the field — the International Association for Media and Communication Research, for example. Most scholars regard the diversity of media and communication studies as its strength. 

To foster this diverse approach the IAMCR Ambassador in India and Adamas University Kolkata have invited some of the global stalwarts to deliberate on various methodological issues related to contemporary media and communication research.

Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Pro Vice Chancellor, Adamas University Kolkata said: ‘It is important that our researchers and scholars are introduced to the important strands in global research. We are absolutely delighted with the support from the stalwarts in the field. We shall have presentations on diverse topics including Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to Digital Divide, Investigating Global Media Giants, Virtual Ethnography: Promises and Problems, Mobile Phones in Everyday Life: Using Quasi-ethnography and Communication Policy research: Use of Qualitative Interviews. We are confident this will help kickstart rigorous and relevant research approaches in our field’.

The Webinar series is an initiative of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, a pre-eminent global professional association of media and communication researchers. It is supported by the voluntary contributions of more than 80 Section and Working Group chairs and deputies, 30 members of its International Council, a five-member Executive Board, many members of various committees and task forces, and more than 2,700 active members.

The association promotes media and communication research throughout the world, addressing socio-political, technological, policy and cultural processes. Its members include individuals and institutions from more than 100 countries across all continents. The strong academic and professional experience of its members and their diverse geographical and cultural origins are the main strengths of the association.

A brief note on keynote speakers:

Prof Janet Wasko is a professor in media studies at the University of Oregon. She is author, editor or co-editor of 22 books, including Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy, 2nd ed. (Polity, 2020); A Companion to Television, 2nd ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020) with Eileen R. Meehan; Global Media Giants (Routledge, 2017) with Benjamin Birkinbine and Rodrigo Gómez; and The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) with Graham Murdock and Helena Sousa. She is a former President of the International Association for Media and Communication Research.

Prof Graham Murdock ,Emeritus Professor of Culture and Economy at the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University , has held the Bonnier Chair at the University of Stockholm and the Teaching Chair at the Free University of Brussels and been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Auckland, California at San Diego, Mexico City, Curtin Western Australia, and Bergen and a Visiting Fellow at Fudan University in Shanghai. His writings have been translated into twenty-one languages. His recent books include; as co-editor, , Money Talks: Media, Markets, Crisis (2015) and Carbon Capitalism and Communication: Confronting Climate Crisis (Palgrave 2017) .A new edition of the influential text Researching Communications, written jointly with colleagues will be published by Bloomsbury later this year.

Prof Thomas Tufte is Director, Institute for Media and Creative Industries, Loughborough University London. His expertise and experience lie in critically exploring the interrelations between media texts/flows/genres, communicative practices and processes of citizen engagement and social change. His long-standing research interests have evolved around two key areas: qualitative audience studies and communication for social change research, often times combining the two.

Prof Tufte has led 7 international research projects in the field (between 1992-2017), having sat on numerous editorial boards, and worked in about 30 countries worldwide. He has collaborated with a broad range of organisations in international development cooperation, such as World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID and many more.

His publications include 15 books (3 monographs, 12 edited volumes) and more than 50 journal articles. Professor Tufte works in both English, Spanish, Portuguese and Danish and his work is published widely in these languages.

Dr Benedetta Brevini lectures in political economy of communication at the University of Sydney. She writes on The Guardian’s Comment is Free and contributes to a number of print and web publications including Index of Censorship, OpenDemocracy and the Conversation. She is the author of Public Service Broadcasting Online (2013) and editor of the volume Beyond Wikileaks (2013). Her latest volumes are Carbon Capitalism and Communication: Confronting Climate Crisis (2017),  Climate Change and the Media (2018) and Amazon: Understanding a Global Communication Giant (2020).

Dr. Anna Gladkova is Leading Researcher and Director of International Affairs Office at the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University. She is also IAMCR Ambassador in Russia and vice-chair of IAMCR’s Digital Divide Working Group.

Dr. Gladkova has published and edited collections on ethnic media, multicultural affairs and digital inequalities. Her most recent books include Digital Inequalities in the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) co-edited with Massimo Ragnedda, and Ethnic Journalism in the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming) co-edited with Sadia Jamil. She was awarded a number of research grants, including grants from the Presidential grant council for the state support of young Russian scholars and Russian International Education Administrators grant from Fulbright.

The schedule at a glance

1. Day 1, August 3, 2020 Dr Anna Gladkova (9.30 GMT)

Topic: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to Digital Divide

Session Chair: Prof Usha Raman, University of Hyderabad, India

2. Day 2, August 4, 2020  Prof Janet Wasko (2.00 pm GMT) 

 Topic: Investigating Global Media Giants

Session Chair: Prof Ruchi Kher Jaggi, Symbiosis International University, India

3. Day 3, August 5, 2020 Prof Graham Murdock (9.30 GMT) 

Topic: Virtual Ethnography: Promises and Problems 

Session Chair: Prof Biswajit DasCCMG, Jamia Millia Islamia, India

4. Day 4, August 6, 2020 Prof Thomas Tufte (9.30 GMT)

Topic: Mobile Phones in Everyday Life: The case of young Kenyan Men

Session Chair: Prof Sunil Kanta Behera, Tezpur University

5. Day 5, August 7, 2020   Prof Benedetta Brevini (9.30 GMT)

Topic: Communication Policy research: Use of Qualitative Interviews

Session Chair: Dr. Ambrish Saxena, DME, India

Joint Convenors: Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Pro VC, Adamas University Kolkata, Dr Uma Shankar Pandey, IAMCR Ambassador, India

IAMCR members promote and defend the interests of the professional community of media and communication researchers in freedom of academic thought and expression and in career development. They work to advance the public presence of the field of media and communication research and support the contributions by researchers to local, national and global policy agendas as well as to the development of media education and media practice.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) facilitated the establishment of IAMCR, providing the founding platform for the association in 1957.

IAMCR maintains a formal relationship with the United Nations system as a non-governmental organization and has Special Consultative Status with UNESCO and with the UN Economic and Social Council. The association also maintains links with other media and communication associations around the globe and seeks to advance global research and collaboration through these links.

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