CFP ICA 2016 Communicating with Power (Fukuoka, Japan)

CFP International Communication Association convention
Fukuoka, Japan, 9-13 June 2016

As communication scholars, we research a field so important that it is protected by all constitutions and, at the highest level, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The subject matter of our study, human expression and its formal form as media, is protected because governments recognise (or at least declare that they do) human expression and the media can be politically charged. Through communication, we make the difference to democracy and thereby make a difference in the lives of others.

Although communication is present in many important areas of policy making and in the ways our societies are governed, yet we are not often heard or even consulted. The theme of this year’s conference is reminder to ourselves as well as the larger world about the potential contribution of our work and raising awareness about such contribution. The theme of the conference is therefore aimed at raising our profile in communicating effectively with not only government agencies and corporate players but also civil society and grassroots organizations. The acts of communication occur at micro, meso, and macro levels, from the psychological to interpersonal, from organizational to global. They need more theoretical critique, methodological rigor, philosophical reflection, creative intervention, and alternative historical imagination.

The theme may be understood at a couple of levels. Communicating power is about communicating—both sending and receiving—powerfully or forcefully. This is reaching out to the influencers, not necessarily just those holding formal positions. It is speaking with a louder voice, designing with cleverer graphics, shooting with more artistic and appealing videography. It is gamification so that messages are absorbed and acted upon. It is investigating phenomena and variables that, when better understood, will make a bigger difference with more people, making a corner of the world a better place.

But there is a level I would like members to consider: how can we make our research better understood by those with the power to use them for good. This is not just for the law and policy crowd and policy makers. How can, for example, health communication scholars reach their target audience—be they doctors, public policy-makers, citizens—with their findings? How can colleagues studying culture and identity help children and youth, who grow up in today’s global culture, to understand their own identity? After studying the latest video games or the next Gangnam Style, how can we communicate our meaningful discoveries to parents and teachers, to multimedia corporations such as Sony?

We cannot be naïve if we want to communicate with power. Sometimes, communicating with power requires us to bypass power centres entirely because they are flawed or corrupted and appeal directly to our audience. What are such occasions? What are the limiting conditions in appealing to power centres?

The currency of academia is influence. If we can influence to make a positive difference, we would have communicated with power.

Conference Program Chair
Peng Hwa Ang, President Elect
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Theme Session Proposals
Submissions to theme session must follow general guidelines (i.e., papers must be blinded and will be peer-reviewed; they should be no longer than 25 pages or approximately 8,000 words). Proposals for papers and panels on the conference theme are invited from all sectors of the field, and will be evaluated competitively by anonymous referees. Theme-based submissions should be cross-divisional; that is, they should span the interests and purview of more than one ICA Division or Interest Group. Papers or panels must not, however, be submitted simultaneously for consideration to more than one Division or Interest Group. All submissions should have broad appeal across the units of the association. All theme-based papers and panels may also be programmed on special panels or within the interactive paper (poster) session. Panel proposals on the conference theme must include a 400-word rationale explaining how the panel fits the conference theme and a 75-word summary of the rationale to appear in the conference program. In keeping with ICA tradition, an edited volume focusing on the conference theme will be published. This volume will draw from presentations in Divisions, Interest Groups, and theme sessions.


Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

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

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