Normative Theory In Communication Research

ICA 2017 Pre-conference
San Diego, May 25, 2017
University of California, San Diego

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What This is All About

Normative theories of democracy in communication research across its various subfields rarely receive explicit treatment. Often, researchers simply imply their normative standpoints through the research questions they ask about ‘participation,’ ‘civility,’ ‘two-sided information flows,’ ‘knowledgeable citizens,’ ‘rational debate and deliberation,’ ‘polarization and partisanship,’ ‘interactivity,’ and ‘quality information.’

While deliberative theory and vague ideas of participation continue to hold significant appeal in communication research, are they the only models?  And, indeed, should they be? In the past two decades there has been a tremendous flowering of normative work in other fields that casts new light on democracy itself.  But with a few exceptions, communication research has not explicitly engaged with its underlying normative models of democracy. In this pre-conference, we seek to bring communication scholars together to spark a conversation on the normative foundations of scholarship and move the field towards more sophisticated models of democracy. Through invited speakers, peer-reviewed papers, and critical discussants, we seek to make democracy and normative theories our object of analysis.

Confirmed participants include Cherian George (Hong Kong Baptist University), Claes de Vreese (University of Amsterdam), Michael Schudson (Columbia University), Paula Chakravartty (New York University), Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University), Talia Stroud (UT Austin), Silvio Waisbord (George Washington University), Kathleen Hall Jamieson (UPenn Annenberg), Sharon Jarvis (UT Austin), and Barbie Zelizer (University of Pennsylvania).

Organizers: C.W. Anderson (CUNY / University of Leeds), David Karpf (George Washington University), Daniel Kreiss (UNC-Chapel Hill), Rasmus Nielsen (Oxford University), and Matthew Powers (University of Washington).

There is no cost to attend this pre-conference and lunch and refreshments will be provided. Registration is required.