ICA Annual Conference Theme Book Series
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From 2013-2018, ICA and Peter Lang Publishing co-published papers from ICA's annual conference theme sessions in the form of edited collections. These volumes are meant to appeal to a wider audience and to reach scholars in other disciplines outside of Communication Studies. As such, the collections are not conference proceedings per se but a unique set of selected essays that capture the insights and agendas of the discipline's top scholars.

Click to go directly to the ICA Annual Conference Theme Book series on Peter Lang's website.

Previously, Hampton Press published the theme book series from 2008-2012, and in 2007 the very first theme book was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


2018 - Voices

Edited by Patricia Moy, U of Washington and Donald Matheson, U of Canterbury

This edited volume on voices arose from the 2018 International Communication Association conference in Prague, Czech Republic. The contributions examine the conference’s central theme from multiple epistemological approaches, a host of methodologies, and numerous levels of analysis. They reveal how studying voice—or the plurality of voices—illuminates the process by which it is fostered and/or constrained as well as the conditions under which it is expressed and/or stifled. More important, the study of voice sheds light on the process by which it impacts behaviors, defines relationships, influences policies, and shapes the world in which we live. In other words, studies of voice are not relegated to a few domains, but interface with myriad discourses, actors, processes, and outcomes.

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2017 - Interventions

Edited by Adrienne Shaw, Temple U and D. Travers Scott, Clemson U

This volume brings together a range of papers that fruitfully engage with the theme of the 2017 Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, held in San Diego, California: Interventions. Here "intervention" points to a range of communication practices that engage with a political event, social phenomena, industrial or socio-cultural practice, in order to alter and disrupt events and the norms and practices that contribute to their occurrence. Interventions prohibit events from proceeding in a "normal" course. Interventions approach or critique practices and phenomenon resulting from tensions or absences occurring in: events, structures, (institutional governmental, media industry), discourses, and socio-cultural and subcultural events. Intervention presents the opportunity to explore boundaries, assumptions and strategies that appear to be different or irreconcilable, viewing them instead as possibilities for productive engagements. Communication interventions—in both research and practice—insert insights from diverse voices, marginal positions, emerging organizational practices and digital technologies, to broaden and enrich dialogue. Interventions bring complex reframings to events and phenomenon. Interventions seek to alter a course and effect changed practices in a range of spheres: governmental and social institutions, cultural and nongovernmental groups; industry and organizational life, new media and digital spaces, socio-cultural environments, subcultural groups, health environments, affective and behavioral life, and in everyday life.

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2016 - Communicating with Power

Edited by Cherian George, Hong Kong Baptist U

Communication is ubiquitous and information is abundant. Political and economic markets are more open than they have ever been. Yet, there is no escaping the fact that communication continues to flow across fields where power is distributed unevenly. This collection of articles analyzes and responds to asymmetries of power in a diversity of contexts. They are drawn from presentations at the 2016 Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, held in Fukuoka, Japan. The conference theme presented an opening for scholars from various disciplines and academic traditions to engage with the questions of power at different levels of analysis—from micro sites of power like a doctor’s consultation room, to the geopolitical arenas where nations wage war, make peace, and spy on one another. The resulting collection straddles different methodologies and styles, from survey research to essays. Leading scholars and junior researchers have combined to create a volume that reflects the breadth of communication scholarship and its contemporary concerns.

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2015 - Communication Across the Life Span

Edited by Jon F. Nussbaum, Purdue U

As we grow up and grow old, embrace new experiences, try new roles, and adopt new technologies, our senses of time, space, connection, and identity are fundamentally explored through communication. Why, how, with whom, and to what end humans communicate reflect and shape our ever-changing life span position. And while the “life span” can be conceived as a continuum, it is also one hinged by critical junctures and bound by cultural differences that can be better understood through communication.

The chapters in this collection, chosen from among the invited plenary speakers, top research papers, and ideas discussed in San Juan, explore the multiple ways communication affects, reflects, and directs our life transition. Capturing the richness and diversity of scholarship presented at the conference, chapters explore communication technologies that define a generation; communication and successful aging; stereotyping and family communication; sexual communication and physiological measurement; life span communication and the digital divide; and homebased care contexts across the world, among others.

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2014 - Communication and the Good Life

Edited by Hua Wang, U at Buffalo, SUNY

What is a "good life" and how can it be achieved? In this volume, communication scholars and media experts explore these fundamental questions about human existence and aspiration in terms of what a "good life" might look like in a contemporary, mediatized, society.

While in many ways it brings us closer to some version of "the good life," it also leads us away from it. The affordances of these new technologies seem to have shifted, for many, from an opportunity to an obligation: Rather than choosing when and where to be connected to these larger networks of information and acquaintances, we must be permanently available, thus losing the luxury of controlling our time and attention.

This volume illuminates the complexity of our modern era, exploring how society can leverage exciting new opportunities whilst recognizing the complex challenges we face in a time of constant change. It helps us understand how we have come to this point and where we may be going so that we may study the opportunities and the dangers, the chances and the risks, that digital media pose in our quest for some version of the good life.

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2013 - Challenging Communication Research

Edited by Leah Lievrouw, U of California, Los Angeles

Communication scholarship has not enjoyed the same kind of theoretical cohesion or ontological security as some disciplines. The field's intellectual "roving eye" and resistance to establishing a single core body of knowledge has inspired serial rounds of soul-searching and existential doubt among communication scholars, on one hand, and celebration and intellectual adventurism, on the other. 

The theme of the 2013 ICA annual conference thus begged an interesting question: For a field that is perpetually in flux and "decentered," what exactly is, or should be, challenged? How, and by whom?

The chapters in this collection, chosen from among the top papers presented in London, suggest that the challenges themselves are constantly being reinvented, broken down and reorganized. The communication discipline undergoes continuous change, rather than following an orderly, stepwise path toward the neat, complete accumulation of knowledge. The chapters challenge familiar approaches, notions or assumptions in communication research and scholarship, and reflect on the field's multifaceted and increasingly open character in an era of shifting social relations, formations and technologies.

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2012 - Communication and Community

Edited by Patricia Moy, U of Washington

Community-building. Global community. Networked community. Traditionally described vis-a-vis notions of physical spaces, the notion of community has evolved over the centuries. And, as the contributors to this volume illustrate, the concept remains a critical one today. The chapters in Communication and Community illustrate the nuanced processes by which communication flows within various communities. They depict the forces by which our lives are shaped by the past and the present, by individual beliefs and social dynamics, by peers as well as power structures, and certainly, by the myriad messages that permeate our lifespace. The scholarship presented herein explores the impact of social, political, technological, and economic developments on how communication and community shape each other. Most notably, the volume illuminates the opportunities and challenges created by these continuing transformations in communication and community.


2011 - Communication @ the Center

Edited by Steve Jones, U of Illinois at Chicago

This work draws on scholarship that in theoretical and practical terms focuses on the centrality of communication as a scholarly pursuit, as an intellectual enterprise and as a pervasive element of everyday life. The authors of the chapters herein examine the history and present contours of the field, bringing new insight and clarity into the role communication plays in academia and scholarship. They engage in research that foregrounds communication not only teleologically but also ontologically. The chapters in this volume engage social, political, environmental and other issues with theoretical sophistication and methodological innovation. In so doing the authors have focused on critical challenges and issues that communication is ideally positioned to examine, critique and illuminate. The work represented in Communication @ the Center serves as a thought-provoking guide to the past, present and future of the field of communication.


2010 - Matters of Communication: Political, Cultural, and Technological Challenges

Edited by Timothy Kuhn, U of Colorado at Boulder

This book is an invitation to consider the consequences of thinking about communication as im/material with respect to pressing political, cultural, and technological problems. Arguing against those who separate the social world into the material and the symbolic, communication scholars increasingly assert that communication matters in social life precisely because it is the central nexus of constitution: The point at which objects, sites, and bodies intertwine with—and become inseparable from—norms, ideologies, and values in the production of social phenomena. Pursuing this vision, the 10 chapters in this volume (along with a preface and introduction) provide theoretical and empirical examples that show how communicative practice constitutes efforts to shape communities, exercise control, and engage in projects of social transformation. Taken as a whole, the volume capitalizes on our contemporary encounter with materiality to evoke conceptions of communication with the potential to open up novel engagements with political, cultural, and technological challenges.


2009 - Rethinking Communication: Keywords in Communication Research

Edited by Stuart Allen, Bournemouth U

To observe that certain words are central to communication research is to prompt interesting questions about their influence. In taking such key words – or keywords – as its organizing theme, this book invites a careful reconsideration of several premises underpinning the vocabulary we use to document, describe and critique the world around us.

Under close scrutiny here is a selection of keywords – including “aesthetics,” “authenticity”, “citizenship,” “city,” “communication,” “difference,” “discourse,” “effects,” “framing,” “identity,” “message,” “public sphere,” “technology” and “urban,” amongst others – crisscrossing the terrain of the field in a manner that is subtly complex and consistently intriguing.

Each of the book’s contributors makes the case for an enhanced awareness of the ways in which words shape the nature of our inquiries. Their shared aim is to illuminate unexpected contours of our otherwise familiar terms in order to encourage fresh perspectives, and thereby reinvigorate current thinking. Words matter, these contributors show us, and sometimes for reasons that prove to be rather surprising.


2008 - Communicating for Social Impact: Engaging Theory, Research and Pedagogy

Edited by Lynn M. Harter, Ohio U, Mohan J. Dutta, Purdue U, and Courtney E. Cole, Ohio U

This edited collection provides a forum for communication scholars whose efforts are directed toward social change. Originating from theme sessions at the 2008 convention of the International Communication Association (ICA), this volume engages communication theory to enlarge communication practices. Chapters address perennial issues of interest to communication scholars as experiences in contemporary terrains: How can scholarship weave its way more fully into the lives of people residing outside of the academy? What counts as social impact? What are the epistemological and ontological debates that play out in the realm of communication scholarship that seeks to redress lived inequities? What ethical demands accompany scholarship and activism in international landscapes characterized by globalization, neo-colonialism, and rapid technological shifts?

Each chapter makes a distinctive contribution to communication theory and practice. Collectively, contributors’ work reveals the eclectic nature of theoretical and methodological work pursued by communication scholars and practitioners, and focuses on meaning-making as it evolves, changes, adapts, and is sustained in conversation, mediated communication, distributed organizing, and other venues. This collection seeks to foster edifying dialogue about social injustices, and move people to meaningful reflection and action.


2007 - Participation and Media Production: Critical Reflections on Content Creation

Edited by Nico Carpentier and Benjamin De Cleen, Vrije U, Brussels

Available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd.

ICA annually publishes a selection of papers from the annual conference theme sessions in a short edited book of approximately six chapters. These chapters are written in an engaging style in order to attract members of other disciplines to this series. As such, these collections are not conference proceedings but are a unique set of essays that capture the insights and agendas of our top scholars. The series begins with the 2007 ICA conference in San Francisco.

The edited volumes comprise a collection that provides both breadth and depth on cutting-edge scholarship discussed during the theme session panels. The chapters represent the scholarship presented in the theme sessions as a whole. Some papers come from panels; others have individual sections by individual panelists, organized around the panel theme.

In light of ICA's interest in reaching out to other countries, disciplines, practitioners and the public, this Theme Session series is not restricted to the traditional academic paper format. Authors may use powerpoints and discussion points as outlines for these chapters; indeed, we hope that chapters will be organized and written in a more accessible format than the traditional academic chapter. Authors are requested to provide a draft of their manuscript at the time of the conference.

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