ECREA 2014 Conference “Communication for Empowerment: Citizens, Markets, Innovations”
12-15 November 2014, Lisbon, Portugal

TOPIC: “Bodies, Media and Urban Space”

Interest for urban space as a context for media usage is object has been growing considerably within media studies, triggered by the latest transformations of the media system toward portability, permanent and ubiquitous connections and convergence. However, urban space represents a challenge requiring media scholars to reconsider the methodological and interpretative approaches of their disciplinary tradition. One of key lines of this reconsideration revolves around is related to the human body and its role within urban media experience. In order to move beyond the paradigms of “dematerialization” and “disembodiment”
allegedly brought forward by pervasive mediatisation, media scholars need a renewed attention to the body and to embodied experience. Many factors concur to bring forth the theoretical and methodological centrality of the body. As a provisional and by no means conclusive enumeration, we may quote:

a)the public visibility of the media practices enacted by social actors in urban space, and the related relevance of media presentation styles, social norms and disciplines;
b) the symbolic values granted by this same visibility to media devices and practices, and their inclusion in the more articulated codes of fashion and self-representation;
c) the importance of ergonomic principles in the design of portable media, where the moving body redefines the concept of usability for interfaces and devices;
d) the involvement of actors’ bodies into nested (media-related or otherwise) practices, typical of media usage in a regime of mobility;
e) the complex coordination strategies of the bodies involved in different practices within the same urban spaces;
f) the inclusion of media into the articulated forms of control and coordination exerted on bodies through urban infrastructure, and the enrollment of the same moving bodies into these strategies;
g)the multi-sensoriality of urban experience and its mediatisation;

The methodological implications of the urgency of these and similar topic are still to be thoroughly investigated by media scholars, as well as the potential contributions provided by such contiguous
disciplines as Science and Technology Studies, Human Geography, Body Culture Studies, Women’ Studies,
or Urban Studies.

As a contribution to foster media scholars to investigate the implications of the located-ness and embodiness of urban media experiences, the ECREA TWG “Media and The City” will host a panel on
Bodies, Media and Urban Space at the 2014 ECREA International Congress in Lisbon (12-15 November 2014). The TWG invites scholars to submit original works (theoretical, methodological or empirical) on these and related topics and phenomena.

Abstracts will have to be sent by April 30th, 2014 to and Selected authors will be notified by May 2014, along with indications about the format of presentations for the conference. PowerPoint presentations and full papers will have to be sent in by October 15, 2014, in order to be circulated among participants. A selection of received papers will be included in a special issue of the journal Comunicazioni Sociali (Tier A in Italy and France) to be published in 2015.


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