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Call for Papers: Audiences, media environments and democratization after the Arab spring

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford is seeking abstracts of papers for possible presentation at its conference, “Audiences, media environments and democratization after the Arab spring”, February 28-March 1, 2013

The two-day conference will explore the role of media in the early stages of democratization; the implications of the Arab spring on local media landscapes and preferences for political information consumption; the links between media, society and local politics during democratic transitions of power; and the effectiveness of media as a tool for democratic socialization amidst political pressures. Whereas the conference theme is about the Arab spring and democratization through the media, we also seek general submissions which combine theories of democratization and communication. These submissions, in addition, should advance our theoretical and/or empirical knowledge about the function and role of media in post-authoritarian contexts, and/or contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of local media audiences in early democratization stages.

Abstracts of papers are sought on topics such as:

  1. How may regime change affect audience's reliance on and perceptions of news media?
  2. How do political predispositions under the old regime influence media’s role during democratic transitions?
  3. How are audiences’ formations and structures affected by changing local media landscapes?
  4. How different media systems in the Arab region have become after the uprisings?
  5. To what extent changes in local media landscapes are shaped by countries’ political structures?
  6. Do transforming media environments in the Middle East favour democratization?
  7. What are the implications of enhanced freedom of speech on media and audiences?
  8. How are preferences for political information consumption affected by democratic transitions?
  9. What can be learnt from previous democratization waves about the role and function of media in post-authoritarian contexts?
  10. How do the internet and social media influence the role of traditional media in democratization?
  11. How does the nature of journalism and of journalistic professionalism change in a transitional context?
  12. Is media professionalism a necessity for successful democratization?
  13. How do changes in local media landscapes affect local politics and legitimacy of newly established regimes?
  14. How can the media interplay with other democratizing factors in the making of democracy?

300-500 word abstracts outlining the topic, approach and theoretical bases should be submitted by October 7, 2012. Notification of selected abstracts will be made by October 15, 2012.

Submit abstracts to

Prof. Robert G. Picard
Research Director
Reuters Institute
University of Oxford

robert.picard@politics.ox.ac.uk