Colloquia #32

The problems with work in communication: discourses, identities, practices, materiality

, Piran, Slovenia

Call for papers

Organised by Euricom (European Institute for Communication and Culture), DESIRE (Centre for the Study of Democracy, Signification, and Resistance) and Social Communication Research Centre of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana.

The colloquium focuses on the discourses, identities, practices and materiality of work. It looks at the mediated discourses through which the social status and meaning of unpaid work and paid work (labour) is articulated and contested, as well as at the discourses, practices and materiality of communication and media work.

The topic ‘the problem with work in communication’ is positioned at the intersection of two clusters of issues. The first arises from the development of new communication technologies that are not only changing communication practices but fundamentally transforming the conditions and notions of labour, both within and outside the media and communication sector (increased precariousness, pressures for constant availability of workers, de-professionalization of media work, the blurring of the distinction between production and use and between work and leisure time, audience labour, etc.). The second arises from the revived social and political contestations of the definition and role of work and labour in contemporary societies (including the dismantling of the welfare state, austerity policies, financialisation, and the ideology of entrepreneurialism and of passionate and hard work as the key to happiness; but also increased contestation by new social movements and by left-wing parties that articulate labour issues in broader populist resistance to economic and political elites, the development of alternative economic models, and increasing attention for work-life balance).

The field of media and communication studies has an important role to play in furthering our understanding of the discourses, identities, practices and materiality of work as these are changed through the use of new communication technologies, constrained by their affordances and economies, and above all articulated and negotiated within institutionalised and vernacular practices of mediated social communication.

We therefore invite critical contributions focusing on the intersections between discourse, media and communication practices and technologies, and the political as well as broader societal dimensions of the politics of work and labour. In particular, we are interested in contributions that explicitly reflect on the discursive, ideological and identity dimensions of work and labour and their relations to the practices and materiality of work and labour. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

- The representation of work in journalism and popular culture

- Work and the politics of life

- Discourse and ideology in communication and media work

- Work in political ideologies, and the ideologies of work

- Media, communication and labour-based civil society and activism

- Labour, class and populist politics


Euricom Colloquia bring together a small number (up to 25) of selected participants from around the world. The format allows for more intensive and extensive debates than standard conferences as each paper is allocated 40 minutes for presentation and discussion. A selection of the papers is planned to be published in a special issue of the journal Javnost – The Public. Euricom has been organising the biannual Colloquia since 1987.


Suggestions for papers with abstracts (250-450 words) should be sent by 20 March 2016, and the full papers are due by 30 September 2016.

Send abstracts or any requests for further information to Ilija Tomanić Trivundža ([email protected]) and Benjamin De Cleen ([email protected])