CFP: ICA Preconference – Powers of Promotion

*Powers of Promotion: Apprehending the Social and Political Impacts of
Promotional Culture*

*International Communication Association Preconference*

DATE: Tokyo, Japan, June 8, 2016

SPONSORS: ICA: PR, Political Communication, and Popular Communication

ORGANIZERS: Melissa Aronczyk, Lee Edwards, Anu Kantola


This preconference examines the growing social and political importance
of promotion and public relations. For decades, promotional activities
have enjoyed a prominent role in societies as tools to foster the aims
of various societal agencies, be they corporations, political actors,
public institutions, NGOs or citizen movements. In today’s turbulent
political and media environments, promotional practices have become more
inventive, coordinated and ubiquitous, crossing transnational borders
and circulating across business, politics and social institutions. We
invite papers that address the following types of questions:

·How are promotion and PR in particular linked with political, economic
and social spheres?

·How do various societal, political and civic actors, organizations and
institutions employ promotional practices?

·How do promotional techniques mediate politics and power?

·How do the PR industry, systems of corporate power, and systems of
governance articulate with each other on a day-to-day basis and in
relation to specific issues?

·How do third-sector organisations use promotion to challenge/reinforce
political/economic power?

·What role do media play in helping or hindering PR’s influence as a
promotional industry?

·How is promotional work changing in response to changes in
communication technologies and audience attitudes?

·How do promotional techniques employ affect and emotion?

·Does PR lead changes in promotional work, or follow them?

·How do the discourses generated through PR in different contexts
benefit, or inhibit, civic life?

The preconference is sponsored by the PR, Political Communication, and
Popular Communication Divisions of the ICA. We encourage papers from
members of all three divisions in order to meet our objective of
exploring promotional activities in new ways and creating fruitful
dialogue between disciplines.

1. Please read the full preconference description at

2. Send a 400-word abstract and 75-word bio by *DECEMBER 1, 2015 *to:*
*Lee Edwards (<>

A special issue of the journal /Public Relations Inquiry/will feature
papers from the pre-conference. The issue is scheduled for mid-2017.

This event is sponsored by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the
Embassy of Finland.


Tourism as/and Consumption Workshop

A workshop hosted by the Critical Research in Consumer Culture Network

Date: Wednesday 14 October 2015

Time: 09h00 – 14h00

Venue: WiSER seminar room, 6th Floor, Richard Ward Building

Conveners: Pamila Gupta (WiSER), Mehita Iqani (Media Studies)


How can tourism be theorized as a form of consumption, and what touristic practices can be linked to cultures of consumption broadly defined? Which practices of travel, movement, motion, exchange and encounter can be theorized as forms of tourism? In tourism encounters, who consumes and who is consumed? What forms of everyday life become commoditized and for what purpose? How is touristic expenditure linked to formations of power that are at once globalized and localized? How do these play out in relation to race, gender, class and sexuality? How can we develop a critical theory of tourism from the south? This workshop aims to bring together researchers to present on current and recent work linked to the thematic of tourism, in order to explore the potential – both theoretical and empirical – for linking tourism studies with critical consumption studies.



09h00 – Arrivals and Coffee

09h30 – Session 1 (Chair: Pamila Gupta)

Marlise Richter: Soccer, sex and the ‘third world prostitute’ – deconstructing anti-trafficking discourses and moral panics during the 2010 Soccer World Cup

Rukariro Katsande: The Impacts of Cultural Tourism on Cultures: An Ethnographic Study in host communities where cultural tourism takes place

 Mehita Iqani: Slum tourism and the consumption of poverty in TripAdvisor reviews: The cases of Langa, Dharavi and Santa Marta

11h00 – Session 2 (Chair: Mehita Iqani)

Federica Duca: Golfing the Planet: Use and Abuse

Pamila Gupta: Cruising up the Cape: Port Tourism within the (Southern African) Indian Ocean corridor

Rita Kantu: Vegetables Are Just For Sundays: An Ethnography of the Braai

12h30 – Lunch

Observers and non-presenting participants are welcome.


Please RSVP to

Panel Discussion: Selling Cities-Trading Places, Oct 8th

selling cities

The CRiCC Network invites you to attend another one of its planned panel discussions, titled:

‘Selling Cities-Trading Places’

Four key speakers will be presenting at this panel, namely:

Ellison Tjirera
‘Commonage Urbanism at Large’: Hyper-Commoditisation of Windhoek’s CBD

Gilles Baro
Pursuit of authenticity and manufacture of heritage: (re)generation of retail spaces to fix Johannesburg’s inner-city image problem

Mingwei Huang
Knock-off Mall: the Fake and the Readymade

Bridget Kenny
Meet Vera, c. 1979: Hypermarkets, the East Rand and the housewife-consumer

We kindly invite you to join us on Thursday, October 8th, from 2-3:30pm in the Media Room (SH3004 on the 3rd floor of Senate House at Wits).

 Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

The New Middle Class in the Global South

middle class

CRiCC is supporting Wiser in hosting a two-day workshop: The new middle class in the global south, on 21-22 September. If you are interested in attending please register here:

Please see the following link for more details: middle class pamphlet

Please see the following link for a day-by-day schedule of the two-day workshop: Middle Class Workshop Schedule

Viewing Mobility: Public Screening of Forerunners

Monday, 21 September, 2015 – 17:00 in the WISER seminar room (6th Floor, Richard Ward Building, East Campus, Wits)


Please join us for the public event Viewing Mobility, when we will be screening Simon Wood’s documentary Forerunners, followed by a Q&A with the director. The film follows 4 members of South Africa’s new black middle class, Miranda, Mpumi, Martin and Karabo, examining tensions between the traditional views of their childhood and the consumerism that prevails in their professional lives, and showing how a new South Africa is shaped as they select and discard elements from each world.

Forerunners was selected for IDFA, the worlds largest documentary festival. The film also received the Dikalo Special Jury Prize in Cannes at the Festival du Film du Pan Africain. The jury cited the film ‘for its writing quality, film mastery as well as its mature and modern outlook of a category of people that are searching for perspective’. The film won further awards at the United Nations Film Festival in San Francisco and in March 2013 won a South African Film and Television Award in Johannesburg.  To date Forerunners has screened in over 65 countries.

Post-humanitarianism, Neoliberal Culture and Consumption Events

The Critical Research in Consumer Culture Network (CRiCC) network presents four events themed around Post-humanitarianism, Neoliberal Culture and Consumption from the 15-16th of September, 2015

Special Guest: Professor Lilie Chouliaraki, (Media and Communications, London School of Economics)


Lilie Chouliaraki is Professor in Media and Communications at the LSE, since 2007, and adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. Chouliaraki’s main interest is in media ethics, broadly understood as the moral implications of mediated communication in contemporary public life. She has published extensively on the nature of mediated public discourse, particularly on the link between mediation, social action and cosmopolitan citizenship. Her main research focus lies in the mediation of human vulnerability, and she has spent the past ten years exploring three key domains within which human vulnerability appears as a problem of communication: disaster news, humanitarianism and war. In her work, notably the book The Spectatorship of Suffering (Sage 2006/2011), on the mediation of disaster news, she has shown the ways in which Western national and trans-national television networks follow hierarchical patterns in their narrative organisation of news on distant suffering and, hence, in the systematic distribution of ethical sensibilities towards distant others. In more recent work, on the mediation of solidarity, she has explored how the humanitarian imperative has changed in the course of the past fifty years. Looking into NGO appeals, rock concerts, celebrity advocacy and post-television disaster news, she has demonstrated how major institutional (the commercialisation of the aid and development field), technological (the rise of new media) and political (the fall of grand narratives) transformations have also changed the moral imperative to act on distant others who need our support. As a consequence, she argues, solidarity has today become not about conviction but choice, not vision but lifestyle, not others but ourselves – turning us into the ironic spectators of other people’s suffering. Her book The Ironic Spectator: Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism, (Polity, 2012) won the prestigious outstanding book award at the International Communications Association conference this year. She is currently writing on the mediation of war, where she explores the various public genres through which war has been mundanely communicated in our culture, from photojournalism to films and from memoirs to news. The aim is to better understand how our collective imagination of the battlefield and its sufferings, what we may call our ‘war imaginary’, has been shaping the moral tissue of public life, in the course of the past century (1914-2012).

Discourse Analysis Masterclass (Postgraduate Student Workshop)
Tuesday 15 September:
Time: 2.00-3.30pm
Venue: SH3004 (West wing, Senate House)

MA and PhD students working with discourse analysis in their research are invited to an informal workshop with Prof Chouliaraki to discuss their projects, their application of discourse analysis methods and how theories of discourse are relevant to their research. Prof Chouliaraki is a leading media discourse analyst, and has published widely on the subjects of discourse, communication and society. All are welcome, but as space is limited to a maximum of 30 participants so please RSVP to Jess Pereira ( Readings will be assigned before the workshop.

Post-Humanitarianism: The contemporary politics of solidarity (Public Lecture)
Tuesday 15 September
Time: 4.30-6.30pm
Venue: Graduate Seminar Room (Southwest Engineering Building)
All are welcome, but please RSVP to Jess Pereira ( for catering purposes.

Post-humanitarianism, Mediation and Consumption (Workshop)
Wednesday 16 September, 10h00 – 15h00:
Venue: WISER Seminar Room (5th Floor, Richard Ward Building)

“in capitalizing on the reflexive resources of the individual without offering a moral justification for action, the posthumanitarian style confronts the public it addresses with a mirror of their own world. In so doing, it runs the risk of failing to operate as an agent of ‘moral education’ – that is, failing to go beyond everyday playfulness so as to inspire and re-constitute the moral agency of Western publics along the lines of civic virtues such as solidarity with and care for vulnerable others” (Chouliaraki, 2010: 121)

Life in many contemporary societies is defined by two things: the saturation of everyday public spaces and practices with media forms, and constant invitations to consumption through social and media forms. At the same time, inequality is at its highest level ever, and awareness – especially in the privileged global north – about poverty, suffering and deprivation in the global south is growing. It is common to see western celebrities getting involved in causes aimed at saving or fixing some aspect of the south. In societies such as South Africa, the formations of consumer culture are tightly wound up with neoliberal power, and with extremes of inequality and injustice. Yet these issues are also globalised, partially though not exclusively, through global media discourses. How consumer-driven inequality is perpetuated and globalised through media discourses is an important question for researchers in the social sciences and humanities. To what extent have inequality, poverty and suffering become commoditised by neoliberal media actors and narratives? What possibilities for ethical connection and solidarity exist in consumer societies? How might they be produced, received, challenged and transcended in media discourses? These questions, and more arising from the intersection of theories of post-humanitarianism, mediation and consumption, will be the focus of this workshop.

The workshop will be structured around key readings and opportunities to discuss current research work. Space is limited to 12 participants. To apply, please send an abstract summarising your current research and a brief biography to Jess Pereira ( Both academic staff and postgraduate students are welcome.

Humanitarian or Consumer? On the global politics of solidarity (Public Discussion Panel)

Wednesday 16 September, 16h30 – 18h30
Venue: WISER Seminar Room (5th Floor, Richard Ward Building)
Participants: Lillie Chouliaraki (LSE), Sarah Nuttall (WISER, Wits), Mehita Iqani (Media Studies, Wits)
Chair: Pamila Gupta (Wiser, Wits)

In the context of global inequality, is it possible for communication to transcend neoliberal power structures?

The aim of this panel is to bring together thinkers on consumer culture, in/equality, transnational flows and media formations to discuss from different conceptual perspectives and research trajectories the intersections between the idea of post-humanitarianism, which is most markedly notable in new forms of communicative appeal from global development and charity organisations, and consumer culture, which manifests in a variety of social forms from tourism, to shopping cultures, to literature, to celebrity. In the context of the growing wealth of the “haves”, and the increasing suffering of the “have-nots”, to what extent has the ethic of solidarity become appropriated by consumer culture?

All are welcome but please RSVP to Jess Pereira ( for catering purposes.

CFP: Fashion and Beauty‏ – Feminist Africa #21

The African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town is pleased to announce a call for papers for Feminist Africa Issue 21 (Fashion and Beauty Politics). This issue is being guest edited by Simidele Dosekun. For more information about Feminist Africa, please visit

Deadline for Submissions: 31 December 2015

All submissions and enquiries should be emailed to:

Historically and to this day, in all their diversity, women in Africa ‘dress up.’ They engage in changing and highly reflexive practices of bodily adornment, beautification, clothing and display. They dress up in private, playfully experimenting at home, with friends or to pose for a camera. They dress to appear and distinguish themselves in public, too. Much like elsewhere, in Africa women’s changing looks have often been incited by and incorporated transnationally circulating commodities, technologies and representations of women’s fashion and beauty. Indeed the existing literature on dress in Africa shows that keeping up with new styles and trends from elsewhere often serves women on the continent to imagine, experience and present themselves as ‘fashionable,’ ‘cosmopolitan,’ ‘modern’ and so on.

And yet, of course, how women in Africa dress – the clothes they wear, the makeup they apply, what they do or do not do to their hair – is not merely personal, nor is it always or only pleasurable. It is also deeply political and structured, shaped, among other factors, by colonial histories and by the grossly asymmetric political-economic and cultural forces of globalization. Women in Africa dress up “in the interstices of multiple cultural and socioeconomic grammars—colonial, local, global, and neocolonial” (Dogbe 2003: 382). Their dress ‘choices’ and practices implicate questions and considerations of ‘tradition,’ class, sexuality, religion, ethnicity and race; and these choices and practices are often strongly judged, policed and contested by others, such as evidenced by recent moral panics about ‘indecent dressing’ in Nigeria and violent attacks against women in ‘mini-skirts’ in South Africa.

This issue invites submissions (features, profiles, standpoints) on the politics of women’s diverse fashion and beauty practices in contemporary Africa. Possible themes include but are not limited to:

– Constructions and representations of beauty, and their contestations

– Beauty pageants

– New beauty practices, services, labourers and industries (e.g. cosmetic surgery, hair removal, professional makeup artists)

– Hair: weaves and wigs, natural hair

– Skin bleaching

– Rising religious fundamentalisms and new dress codes

– Un/veiling

– The sexualization of young women’s dress

– Fashion and beauty magazines and blogs

– The policing of women’s dress

– Afrocentric haute couture, African fashion weeks

– Second-hand clothing

– Queer styles

– ‘Celebrity’ stylizations

Submissions are particularly welcome that seek to historicize women’s fashion and beauty practices and politics in contemporary Africa and also put them into transnational perspective, complicating binaries such as tradition/modern, African/Western.

First CRiCC Reading Group

Please join us as we kick off the first CRiCC reading group for the year.

We will be meeting on Thursday, the 6th of August at 8:30am, at
Post in Braamfontein, 70 Juta Streeet (

We will be reading:
Gustav Peebles. 2008. ‘Inverting the panopticon – money and the
nationalisation of the future¹ in Public Culture.

If you cannot access this reading, please contact Jess on

Looking forward to seeing you all there!