The European Sociological Association (ESA) – Research Network 18: Sociology of Communications and Media Research
in cooperation with
the Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) of the Polytechnic University of Turin and the University of Turin;
the Italian National Sociological Association (AIS) – Section: Cultural Processes and Institutions; the Italian Scientific Society of Sociology, Culture, Communication (SISCC)

invites applications for the:

Communication, Capitalism and Critique: Critical Media Sociology in the 21st Century

ESA RN18 Mid-Term Conference 2020 Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy 10-12 September 2020

Keynote speakers:

Tiziana Terranova (University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, Italy)

Donatella Della Ratta (John Cabot University, Rome, Italy)

Peter Thomas (Brunel University London, UK)


We live in times of deepening economic, political, social, ideological and ecological crises that are expressed in widespread precarious labour, the commodification of (almost) everything, the rise of new nationalism, populism and authoritarian forms of capitalism, and ecological destruction. The display of power and counter-power, domination and spaces of power struggles, and the commons and the commodification of the commons characterise modern society. Contradictions and antagonisms between the haves and the have-nots shape contemporary Europe and beyond. Media and communication are fields of conflict in this power struggle: they are power structures and sites of power struggles, able to support both the expansion and the commodification of the commons.

Turin was the place where Gramsci lived, was politically active and where he set up the weekly newspaper ‘L’Ordine Nuovo’ and acted as editor of the newspaper ‘Il Grido del Popolo’. Gramsci exerted influence on the study of culture and communication in society. ESA RN18’s mid-term conference in Turin is an occasion for media/communication/cultural sociologists to ask: What is the relevance of Gramsci and other approaches and thinkers inspired by Marx for the study of communication and society today?

ESA RN18 calls for contributions that shed new light on theoretical and analytical insights that help to shape critical media sociology in the 21st century, in particular, but not exclusively, addressed to any of the following:

  1. Critical Media Sociology and Capitalism
  2. Critical Media Sociology and Critical Theory
  3. Critical Media Sociology and Critical Political Economy of Media, Information and


  1. Critical Media Sociology, Gramsci and Hegemony
  2. Critical Media Sociology and Ideology Critique
  3. Critical Media Sociology and Cultural and Communication Labour
  4. Critical Media Sociology and Digital Labour
  5. Critical Media Sociology, New Nationalism and Authoritarianism
  6. Critical Media Sociology, Consumption and Production in Urban Processes
  7. Critical Media Sociology, Patriarchy and Gender
  8. Critical Media Sociology, Social Inequality, Identity and Subjectivities
  9. Critical Media Sociology, Ecology and Climate
  10. Critical Media Sociology, Democracy and the Public Sphere
  11. Critical Media Sociology and the Left
  12. Critical Media Sociology, the Commons and Alternatives

Abstract submission

Abstracts should be sent to the Conference Organising Committee:

esarn18conference @

Abstract submission deadline: 1 April 2020 Notification of selected abstracts: 15 May 2020

Abstracts should be sent as an e-mail attachment (400-600 words including title, author name(s), email address(es), and institutional affiliation(s)). Please insert the words “ESARN18 Submission” in the subject. Although we do not provide a template for the abstract submission, we expect abstracts that include a rationale, research question(s), theoretical and/or empirical methods applied, and potential results and implications. Each abstract will be independently reviewed by two members of the ESA RN18 Board based on the call for papers.

Conference fees

  • 90 Euro for ESA RN18 members / 110 Euro for non ESA RN18 members (conference dinner included)
  • 60 Euro for ESA RN18 members / 80 Euro for non ESA RN18 members (without conference dinner)
  • 25 Euro for students (Bachelor and Master) (without conference dinner) / 55 Euro (conference dinner included)You can become a member of ESA RN18 by joining the ESA and subscribing to the network. The network needs material support, so we encourage you to join or renew your membership. The network subscription fee is only 10 Euro: support for four PhD students and/or independent researchers will be available. This will not cover all costs, but part of them (accommodation and full conference fee). Preference will be given to presentations that suit the overall conference topic.If you want to apply for participation support, please send an extended abstract (600 – 800 words), biographical information (up to 250 words) and indicate this in your abstract submission by adding the sentence ‘I want to apply for participation support for PhD students / independent researchers’. The notifications about participation support will be sent out together with the notifications of acceptance or rejection of presentations. Additional information to prove your position as a PhD student or independent researcher will be requested.

Conference venue

The conference will be hosted by the Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning. The Department is located at the Castello del Valentino, Viale Mattioli 39, 10125 Turin, Italy (see:

Organising committee

The ESA RN18 organising committee is led by:

  • Dr Marisol Sandoval, Coordinator of ESA RN18, City University London, UK
  • Dr Thomas Allmer, Coordinator of ESA RN18, University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • Dr Paško Bilić, Vice-Coordinator of ESA RN18, Institute for Development and International Relations, CroatiaThe local organising committee is led by:

• Dr Tatiana Mazali, Chair of the local organising committee,

Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning, Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy


European Sociological Association (ESA) – Research Network 18: Sociology of Communications and Media Research provides a platform for critical research and debate on questions of power, inequality, identity and social change in increasingly mediatised societies. Key research areas include but are not limited to the Internet, digital and social media, alternative media, media and protest, journalism, media and capitalism, media work, ideology and media discourse, media and gender, global media, public sphere, political communication, theories of media and communication, media policy, media industries, ownership and power.

Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) is the point of reference in Politecnico and Università di Torino for the areas of knowledge that study the processes of territorial transformation and government, both on a local and on a global scale. These processes are analysed from a sustainability perspective in their physical, economic, social, political and cultural aspects, as well as in their interrelationships.

DIST promotes, coordinates and manages basic and applied research, training, technology transfer and services for the local community with regard to urban and regional sciences and policies, as well as to spatial, urban and environmental-landscape planning.

Italian National Sociological Association (AIS) was founded in 1983. The AIS has approximately 600 members, it is composed of thematic sections, all of which are a landmark for theoretical reflection and research. The AIS is responsible for maintaining the existing relationships between national and international associations, such as ISA and ESA.

The thematic section “Cultural Processes and Institutions” (PIC) of AIS goes back to 1983. Since then, it’s members have dealt with topics such as communication, art, literature and media (mass media and digital media), material culture, consumption and cultural production. Also because of its composite identity, the PIC section is one of the most numerous of the Italian Association of Sociology.

Italian Scientific Society of Sociology, Culture, Communication (SISCC), established in 2017, includes Full Professors of the Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes. The SISCC works for the advancement of studies in the sociological, social sciences, culture and communication fields. To this end, SISCC promotes collaboration between all scholars interested in these issues, enhancing their relevance both in the scientific-educational field and in the public debate, nationally and internationally, promoting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary discussion.

Fondazione Istituto piemontese Antonio Gramsci (The Antonio Gramsci Piedmont Institute Foundation), since 1974 has been an important point of reference for the production of culture in the city of Turin, a meeting and mediation point for various left-wing cultures and an observatory of the socio-economic development of the city. In recent years the Foundation has gradually specialized in the history of the workers’ movement, associating this vocation with an ever increasing attention to the critical issues of contemporary society (work, young people, flexibility) and to the new cultural policy trends for local development.




Additional accommodation and information about the city of Turin is available here: