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Applying the Capabilities Approach to Media and Communications
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When: Thursday, May 24, 2018
9:00 AM
Where: Hilton Prague
Czech Republic
Contact: Amit Schejter

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Recent years have seen a growing interest in the concept of justice in media and communication studies. In the more general literature on social justice, an important contribution has come from the capabilities approach developed by Indian economist Amartya Sen and US philosopher Martha Nussbaum. The theory challenges utilitarian narratives and liberal notions of redistributive justice and has become the cornerstone of the United Nations’ Human Development Index. Despite its potentially great relevance for media industries and production studies, information and communication for development, telecommunications and media policy, and digital media research, there has been limited use of the capabilities approach across the media, communication and cultural studies field.
By bringing together for the first time scholars engaged in applying the capabilities approach to media and communications, this ICA preconference advances an agenda to create a new interdisciplinary focus in the field. It aims to build conceptual bridges across emerging frameworks for studying communicative capabilities, media practice, and digital literacies and to engage with normative debates about media justice, creative justice, and data justice. The preconference directly engages with the central theme of the ICA Annual Conference on “Voices” by inviting reflection on the ways we can address inequalities and enhance communicative opportunities for media workers and users in a global context.

The preconference will feature a keynote address by Nick Couldry (London School of Economics) and panels in which invited speakers, as well as panelists selected in a competitive process will introduce theoretical papers and studies applying the capabilities approach to policy debates, development interventions, and normative media theories. 


International Communication Association
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Washington, DC 20036 USA

Phone: (202) 955-1444

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