Call for Submissions
Pre-Conference on Urban Communities and Communication at 2014 NCA Conference:
Urban Communities’ Present(s), Past(s), & Future(s) In Conflict and In Dialogue
Wednesday, November 19
Full Day (9 am – 5 pm)
Matthew Matsaganis, State University of New York – Albany, NY
Peter Haratonik, The New School, New York, NY
Susan Drucker, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Gary Gumpert, Urban Communication Foundation, Great Neck, NY
DESCRIPTION & RATIONALE
Under the title “Technology is Not Driving Us Apart After All,” a recent New York Times article featured the research of Keith Hampton, a sociologist by training and a scholar of communication. Hampton’s (and his students’) work builds on the groundbreaking work of sociologist William H. Whyte. In the late 1960s and 1970s, Whyte, working with the New York City Planning Commission led a series of granular studies of the city’s public spaces. He and his collaborators spent many hours filming and photographing people in public spaces, taking detailed notes about how they behaved. The project became known as the Street Life Project. It was considered revolutionary in urban planning, both because of the methods employed and its findings. Whyte argued that this type of close and systematic observation of human behavior would provide insights into how policy could help people lead happier lives; lives in which individuals would not feel alienated from their neighbors.
Hampton’s work has taken on a similar set of questions, focusing though on what many deem to be the atomizing forces of our day: new communication technologies and, of course, the Internet.
Beyond the actual and fascinating findings of this work, the project undertaken by Hampton and his students reminds us that in our future-focused societies, researchers, too, frequently forget to look back to the past. Hampton revisited and learned from Whyte. Looking back can be enlightening.
Inspired by this example and in response to the call for submissions for the 2014 NCA conference, this preconference will bring together scholars and professionals from multiple areas within the discipline, but also from other fields of inquiry, to explore and discuss theoretical perspectives, new and ongoing field research findings, as well as case studies aimed at enhancing our understanding of:
(a) Communication patterns in urban communities;
(b) How these patterns are shaped by and shape the physical, built, and social environment of the places we live in;
(c) How the communication ecologies we construct in the process of our everyday lives impact our well-being; and
(d) The positive and negative ways in which policy interventions influence the communication environment of cities.
Historical perspectives on any of these topics, research revisiting old and persistent issues of everyday life in the city, and longitudinal studies will be particularly welcomed.
The pre-conference will unfold in a series of higher density panels, which will be organized thematically, and during which more colleagues (approximately 6) will be invited to present short position papers, research reports, or case studies (length: 7-10 pages, double-spaced). Presentations will be brief to allow more time for dialogue and debate among presenters and audience members. There will be 4-5 such panels held throughout the course of the day. The final number will depend on the number and quality of submissions, as well as the range of themes that emerge out of the submissions.
PROCEDURES FOR SUBMITTING ABSTRACTS & PAPERS To participate, please submit an abstract for the short position paper, research report, or case study you wish to contribute to the pre-conference. The deadline for submitting an abstract, which should be no longer than 200-250 words, is September 1. Abstracts should be submitted electronically to the co-chairs, Matthew Matsaganis and Peter Haratonik.
A committee composed of NCA members with UCF representation will review all submissions and inform the authors of the submissions rated the highest by October 1, 2014.
For colleagues whose abstract is accepted, full papers (7-10 pages in length, double-spaced) will have to be submitted by November 1. They will be made available in advance of the pre-conference, so that participants/attendees have a chance to review them prior to the actual meeting on November 19 in Chicago. The final seminar schedule will also be made available by November 15, 2014.
More information regarding the pre-conference at NCA will be made available later in the summer and over the first few weeks of fall via the Urban Communication Foundation’s website and Facebook page.