call for paper (english version)

[italian version]

The call for papers is closed, as papers have been selected. Full conference details will be online from 15 july onwards.

Media + Generations
generational framing of media / mediated framing of generations
[download the PDF version]
11-12 September 2009
Catholic University of Milan, Italy

Generational identities are an increasingly relevant issue within contemporary society. While people deals with economical and technological gaps related to differences between cohorts, generations becomes active resources to make sense of their living. Generations are helpful labels to define their position in the new environment of collective identities, boosting a wide range of discourses and debates: intergenerational conflicts around welfare; the production of ‘generational’ goods and services; generational factors in shaping digital divide; and so on.

In particular, a crucial element emerges within these social processes: the media. In an historical moment in which social experience – among individuals and communities, on both public and private sphere – is marked by the presence and the mediation of media, generational belonging become visible and relevant in complex forms and in different, opaque ways that in the past, according to a more decisive role of media in shaping peoples’ identities.

In this context we believe that the relevance of generations as a conceptual tool needs to be reconsidered. It is clear, today, that different segmentations of the population cannot be reduced anymore to either individual socio-demographic traits (such as age, gender, education, job position) or the corresponding life styles (such as those codified by marketing). Within contemporary society the idea of generation must be reconsidered as a multi-dimensional category, where historical, biographical and cultural traits are deeply interlinked. Following that multi-dimensional approach, different segmentations have to be strictly and simultaneously related to several factors – such as one’s position along the lifecycle, media biography, contexts provided by families and friendship networks as environments for the elaboration of media experience, the belonging to a world of values shared with other members of the same generation, the historical development of the media system, the different phases of technological innovation, the processes of domestication and incorporation of technologies and media products, as well as the wider structural changes affecting the social and cultural system.

The aim of the Media+Generations Conference is to investigate the cohorts’ processes of genesis and self-recognizing, where biographical and historical traits, social discourses and reflexivity continuously intersect with symbolic resources provided by media. So the emphasis on the role of generations in the field of cultural production and consumption seems more and more relevant today, as each generation is characterized by a different experience with media products and media technologies. The constitution of digital “networked society”, too, is affected by some differences between baby boomers and post-war generations, but also between digital “immigrants” and digital “natives”.

Many questions are raising from a reconsideration of the relationship between media and generations. How media take part in the construction of generational identities? In which ways generational belonging affects media usage and sense-making in everyday practices of media consumption? What kind of differences are introduced by new media in the relationship between media and generations? How digital media collaborate in shaping identities among new generations? Looking toward future advances in our media environment, we can also ask: how generational differences will have relevant consequences both in the development of products, applications and consumption practices of the culture industries? And how they are relevant in furthering participation in democracy, involvement in (virtual) communities and reflexivity for an enhanced living in a mediated world?

The proposed topics are:

* Definition of generation, and the role of cultural and media factors
* Generations and their influence on media uses and practices
* “Generational turns” in cultural history and media history
* The role of generation in the social shaping of memory: media as resources
* Collective identities and generational discourses: expressing “we sense” in the media
* Local and national differences between generational identity and media
* Educational processes, generational identity and media literacy
* Generational frames in authors’ cultures and authorial models
* Generational texts, languages and cultural products
* The use of ICTs: generational values and habits
* Generational differences in the networked space
* Products and applications development for different generations

Proposals and submissions

Submission deadline: 15th June 2009

Presentations will normally consist of 15-minute speech.

Abstracts should include the presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, title of paper, email and work address, as well as a 400 word abstract (or 2500 characters), a list of 3 to 5 keywords, and a brief biographical note (up to 80 words / 600 characters).

Abstracts should be in English. Papers should be presented in English or in Italian. The Conference will provide a simultaneous translation.

The Conference welcomes both theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions. Abstracts should highlight the original contribution to the research in the area.

All proposals (electronic submissions only) should be sent by 15th of June 2009 to the Conference Committee at mediagenerations@gmail.com. Communications of accepted papers will be sent to participants at 26 June 2009.

Authors selected for oral presentations will be invited to submit a full paper for publication. The publication will be scheduled for 2010, in English language, and published by Peter Lang (Berlin), in the collection “Participating in Broadband Society” directed by Leopoldina Fortunati, Julian Gebhardt, Jane Vincent.

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