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Session Overview
RN18_02b_IC: Communication Theory and Social Change
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Peter Golding, Northumbria University
Location: Intercontinental - Aphrodite II
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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The judging audience. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in the Field of Media Consumption

Michael Jäckel

Trier University, Germany

The judging audience, an entity described as early as the 18th century, claims for itself the right to react erratically and impulsively. Whenever there is a great variety of supply, the customer is king because, among other reasons, he can direct his demand for a good product towards competing media. While doing so, he can actively engage, or remain in the passive state of the observer.

Therefore, the audience’s interests are catered to in various ways: Some go strictly by supply and demand and, as a result, see the audience’s responses as a kind of “divine judgment”, subsequently catering to the tastes of the masses and the average taste of a homogenous audience. Others seek more interactive formats and attempt to intensify the dialog within and beyond the corresponding media.

These kinds of interaction cannot be generally characterized as institutional. It must be assumed that such forms of protest or articulations of a variety of qualified opinions do not occur on a constant basis. Audience participation can be swept up in cycles similar to the ones Hirschman generally described for the political arena. Articulating and organizing audience interests can be categorized into institutionalized and non-institutionalized as well as continuous and non-continuous interactions. The range of audience reactions ranges all the way from exit to loyalty.


Hirschman, Albert (1970): Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge, Mass.

Public Data Opened Exclusively for the Commons?

Arwid Lund

Lund University, Sweden

Open Data is tightly connected to Big Data, arousing political energies among activists, start-ups, the creative industry, and proponents of E-government. The movement for open knowledge needs to be critically examined ideologically through a political economic perspective.

Open knowledge is comprised of two levels under capitalism: the data and knowledge level are regulated in different ways. Database protection regulates the data level and its only aim is to protect economic investment. Knowledge is often protected by copyright.

Whereas there has been a steady development of copyleft-inspired licenses opening up the enclosures of copyright, boosting commons-based projects, no such licenses can be constructed on the data level. On the data level nothing exists in between the open and the closed, the central middle ground for commons-based production. This paper highlights that the ‘open’-movement accepts and in practice supports that public institutions’ data, or private consumers and users’ such, is open or opened up, and commercial actors’ data closed but building on open data from the former two categories.

More radical options as demanding all data - including companies’ data – being open in a call for general transparency, or closed in a call for everyone’s absolute right to privacy, may seem unrealistic, but what if the state opens its data exclusively to commons-based data services under a database protection law that denies commercial actors the same right? This strategy would create a middle ground between the open and the closed that goes against neoliberal privatisations while empowering the civil society.

Mediatized Capitalism: the numbness of permanent adjustment through reflexivity

Paulo Martins

ISCTE-Instituto Universitátio de Lisboa, Portugal

People bow to the realm of Web 2.0, “disguised as free”, exchange. Instead of inter-defined social situations, individuals “run after the” never-ending fluxes. Experience is restructured trough material and immaterial processes, in an overwhelming part, autonomous of human creators.

In neoliberalism, capitalism is not simply another media, capitalism is the media, and mediatization becomes the pivot of social ordering, strongly decreasing the demos’ transformative action possibilities. This brings a new code to the social configuration we live by/in/on. It roars, rarifies and reifies social realities, from sender-through channel-to receiver; from production-through distribution-to consumption.

Under Mediatized Capitalism communication becomes too noisy: “my message” is everyone else’s noise, as the messages to them are my deafness. Listening is hard in roaring environments. Communication returns to unidirectionality: a specialty of some who have literacies, access and resources. The medium becomes exclusive of a few. Voice becomes rarified. Also, communication modulates individuals, reifying conventions of legitimacy, colonizing attentions and guiding intentions, closing us in refeeding fluxes and facilitating the unending iterations. Blinding us alternative ways of existing. Thus, Senses become colonized, leaving us only with the ability to “think-it-trough” in our “inner-conversations”.

Deep mediatization and mediated construction of reality that derive from a datafied/interconnected materiality/ecosystem imports in a multiscale new ordering. Rather than Media Effects is the “digestion” and its absorptions/eliminations/reframings of intense Media Reflections on habitus and other structures of cognitive system that must be the core of analysis: the reflexivity of identities. For it is its pivotness, as an inexorable gate of this process, which primarily keeps feeding the new order.

Generational perceptions of social acceleration in the context of deepening mediatization

Signe Opermann

University of Tartu, Estonia

This paper will address the acceleration of social time (Rosa 2013) due to the evolution of communication technologies and the wider process of mediatization (Hepp and Krotz 2014, Lundby 2014), which have come in several waves and changed the media environment but also the ways of how we live with media (Couldry and Hepp 2016) in the information age. The focus of this paper lies on social generations (Mannheim 1927/1952) that are defined as groups of people that have come of age in the similar socio-historical and cultural setting (Spahiu 2016). In this paper, social acceleration and its implications for different social groups (incl. different generations) are studied not only from the viewpoint of “time wealth” and “time poverty”, caused by the technological acceleration and increasing pace of life, but also examined as a challenge of how to cope with time-based competitiveness and increasing speed and complexity of society’s socio-economic condition from which some groups can benefit more than others.

The study explores data from a wider research project of the University of Tartu (UT) in Estonia to study the acceleration of social and personal time in the information society. Besides a quantitative multidimensional analysis of the data from the 5th round of the representative survey “Me. The World. The Media” conducted in 2014 by the UT (n = 1,500) also qualitative data from a series of focus groups will be used, in order to more thoroughly examine the perceptions of social acceleration from both the inter- and intra-generational perspective. The focus groups will include representatives of various areas of specialty, e.g., academic people from various generation groups from different universities in Estonia.

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