CFP Communication for Social Change (Singapore)

Call for Papers
Organized by: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), National University of Singapore
Event: 8 January 2016
Deadline for submissions: 28 July 2015

In 2011, it was estimated that one billion people in the world lived on less than $1.25 a day, and that 22,000 children die each day due to poverty (World Bank, 2015; UNICEF, 2009). Global inequality continues to exist on a remarkable level, exacerbated by globalization, enactment of neoliberal regimes, and global economic restructuring that widens the gap between the rich and poor (Dutta, 2008). This has led to widening inequality and health disparities among marginalized and disenfranchised communities both in the global South and in developed countries. Against this backdrop, many communication scholars have been vested in social change work, attempting to address these problems from a communication standpoint. Within the field of communication, critical scholars have
brought attention to globalization processes and modernization projects that continue to reify structural violence and the erasure of subaltern voices from mainstream discourse under the guise of ‘aid’ (Dutta, 2008, 2010). There is a growing pool of communication scholars who reject top-down prescriptions of definitions of poverty and its solutions, and instead recognize the role of culture and structure in forming the contextual base for understanding experiences of subalternity in one’s everyday life (Airhihenbuwa, 1995; Dutta & Basu, 2008; Lupton, 1994). Within this paradigm, communication scholars seek to work with subaltern communities to foster participatory spaces for listening and dialogue, with the larger goal of social change and structural transformation. In
their negotiations of culture and structure with their material and symbolic experiences of marginalization, we see the emergence of narratives from the ground which actively challenge and resist structures that have communicatively erased the lived experiences of subaltern communities. It is within these alternative narratives and rationalities that social change is articulated in culturally meaningful ways.

The broad goal of this conference is to explore the intersections between theory and praxis in social change communication. This conference brings together communication scholars, both experienced and new, to share, dialogue, debate, and discourse on the future of social change in the discipline. The conference is also envisioned as a platform to build solidarity among people working within the academic-activist spectrum – for them to share their lived experiences in the field and to encourage young scholars in the field of communication to actively partake in social change scholarship. Finally, the conference also acts as an invitational space to celebrate novel and alternative ways of communicating for social change. Hence, this presents a unique opportunity for communication scholars around the world to come together and contribute to the intellectual space in which communicative practices are embodied and enacted in the sites of oppression and resistance and told through academic engagement, theorizing the ways in which communication can solve social problems.

We invite submission of papers that address communication and issues of social change, both theoretically and empirically, in different national contexts, pertaining to social change in the margins from around the globe.Heeding this conclusion, and based on the context and scope of
communication for social change, the following questions include, but are not limited to:
1. How are issues of social change theorized by communication scholars?
2. How do emerging alternative theories and frameworks in communication address various kinds of disparities?
3. How do communication scholars approach social change?
4. How can widening health disparities be addressed communicatively?
5. What is the role of self-reflexivity for communication scholars?
6. How do culture, community engagement, and communication intersect for social change?
7. What are the emerging innovations in research using the culture-centered approach?
8. How do communication scholars negotiate culture, structure, and/or agency in envisioning social change and social justice?
9. How do theory and praxis intersect in social change communication? What are the roles of academics and activists within this paradigm?

Paper submissions must include a title, an abstract (max 300 words), full paper not exceeding 30 pages double-spaced (5,000-8,000 words), and a brief biographical sketch (max 150 words). Please submit your papers by 28 July 2015 to Please see paper submission format below. Successful applicants will be notified by the first week of October 2015. Selected papers will be developed and included in a book chapter series.

Participants are encouraged to seek funding for travel from their home institutions. Based on the quality of paper, full funding is available for two successful applicants that are developing-country researchers. Full funding would cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means plus accommodation for the duration of the conference. Participants that qualify for full funding will be informed by early October 2015.

Conference Convenor
Professor Mohan J. Dutta
Head of Department of Communications and New Media & Director of the Center for Cultured-Centered Approach to Research And Evaluation (CARE), National University of Singapore

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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