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IAMCR 2008 Congress. 20-25 July, 2008. Stockholm, Sweden.

Stockholm University and the Dept of Journalism, Media and Communication has the privilege to host the 26th world congress of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) to be held in Stockholm, Sweden July 20-25 2008. The conference will take place on the campus of Stockholm University.

This is the first time during the organisation’s 50-year history that the conference is organised in a Nordic country and it is supported by the Nordic research community.

The initiative for this conference has been taken by the Swedish Association for Media and Communication Research (FSMK), an active organisation with broad interests among media scholars. The actual organisation of the conference has also been conceived as a close cooperative effort including representatives from Swedish and Nordic colleges and universities and Nordicom, the longstanding organisation for information on Nordic media and communication research. Among others Stockholm University’s Vice-Chancellor has expressed clear support.

Congress theme

Media and Global Divides. The congress will address relationships between media and contemporary global divides, be they historically founded or emergent phenomena. It will explore the pivotal, but still under-researched, roles of the media with regard to today’s global inequalities.

In the last couple of decades the world has undergone fundamental changes relating to geopolitical, economic, cultural, religious and other conditions. New, non-territorial divides have added to or partially replaced the East-West and North-South dimensions of the world system, generating differences and divisions that may cut through very local life worlds, between cities and suburbs, the metropolis and the countryside. At the same time old and new group affiliations and solidarities along ideological, religious and/or class, gender and ethnic lines have been globalized.

Different media and media genres respond differently to these developments – normally, it seems, by not representing global cleavages at all, by masking them, or by framing them in “Western” terms. This can be seen in the context of an emerging new world order. It can also be related to all kinds of divides, the digital one perhaps being he most noted, that have also developed in the world’s media structures. These divides are technological and social, and generated by markets and socio-political orders. They are reflected in an array of media genres and formats and in the segmentation of national, regional and worldwide audiences, corresponding for instance to elite and popular media outputs. However, some such distinctions have been blurred in the most rapidly modernizing and expanding media systems, putting commercial and transnational media forms in the service of political governance. At the same time, democracy movements around the world have put inequalities on the agendas of both mainstream and alternative media.

These transformations imply that the media are becoming evermore-significant actors and arenas on a global scale. The comparative or in-depth study of the different and interdependent developments, outside of and inside the media, will constitute a major challenge for media and communication research in the second decade of the new millennium.

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