Sunday, August 24, 2014

Media Sociology Preconference Report (Mills College, August 15, 2014)


Margaret Hunter welcomes Media Sociology Preconference attendees to Mills College
 

As Rodney Benson wrote last year in his review of the inaugural Media Sociology Preconference held at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge, “Elihu Katz and Jeff Pooley (2008) maintain that sociology abandoned mass communications research. This may have been true at one point, but in recent years increasing numbers of sociologists are claiming back this territory as they realize how obviously central media are to their research questions. […] The drive for institutionalization [of media sociology] is moving forward at a rapid pace and scale, exceeding initial expectations.”   

In my capacity as co-organizer of the Media Sociology Preconferences, I am therefore delighted to report that the energy and appetite for media sociology in the American Sociological Association has not waned, and our second preconference on August 15, hosted at the Mills College Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business in Oakland, California, was a resounding success. We received 68 paper submissions by the deadline, with scholars hailing not just from the United States and Canada but also China, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Russia. In total, there were 77 pre-registered attendees.


Clayton Childress delivers his morning keynote address on "Being Passable: The Double Match of Race and Meaning in American Book Publishing"

The day kicked off bright and early with a catered breakfast and a welcome from Mills College sociologist Margaret Hunter. This was immediately followed by a fantastic lecture by Clayton Childress of the University of Toronto – Scarborough. In keeping with a tradition begun in 2013, the preconference’s morning keynote slot was reserved for a junior scholar whose work we believe will become central to the field of media sociology in the future. Clayton did not disappoint; his talk on the troubling whiteness of both production and content in American trade book publishing was clearly well-received and provocative.

A jam-packed program of panel sessions followed, featuring a diverse range of substantive areas, theories, and methodologies. It was especially fascinating to see the ways in which media sociology intersects with established subfields such as the sociologies of work, race, gender, nationalism, and even the teaching and learning of sociology. Yet there was also plenty of downtime throughout the day to socialize and network over lunch and afternoon coffee, and to explore the idyllic Mills College campus.


"Media Sociology as a Vocation" Plenary Panel, featuring (from left to right): Casey Brienza (moderator), Laura Grindstaff, Paul Hirsch, Paul Lopes, Guobin Yang, and Ron Jacobs

The preconference concluded with an evening plenary discussion panel on “Media Sociology as a Vocation.” Moderated by myself and featuring Laura Grindstaff, Paul Hirsch, Ron Jacobs, Paul Lopes, and Guobin Yang, this panel focused on various pragmatic, professional, and vocational considerations for--and challenges facing--media sociologists. Panelists discussed lessons from their own career biographies and the importance of interdisciplinarity both within and beyond sociology. They further praised the remarkable breadth of scholarship the preconference had attracted and the novel intellectual linkages the gathering encouraged. Nevertheless, the panelists affirmed, formal legitimation for media sociology within the ASA is absolutely critical. Of particular significance is their recommendation, given the growing role of the media in all arenas of contemporary social life and the enduring popularity of the subject with students, that we do more to lobby Department Chairs/Heads, Deans, and Provosts for faculty lines in media sociology.

All in all, it was a productive and exhilarating day, and I was both inspired and humbled by the energy and talent of the media sociologists of the American Sociological Association. Matthias Revers and I continue to advocate for formal recognition for media sociology in the ASA, so if you are current ASA member (regular, student, or emeritus) and would like to see that happen, please do sign the petition. Signing the petition, if you have not already done so, will also keep you updated on the latest news from the section formation campaign.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago in 2015!

– Casey Brienza 

Special thanks to Dan Ryan and to the Mills College Department of Sociology & Anthropology for their generous sponsorship.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

[ARCHIVE] Preliminary Program Schedule

Registration is now open!

8:00-8:30 Registration/Sign-in

8:00-8:30 BREAKFAST (Atrium)

8:30-9:00 Welcome/Opening Remarks (GSB 117)
Kimberly Phillips, Provost (Mills College)

9:00-10:00 Keynote Address (GSB 117)
Being Passable: The Double Match of Race and Meaning in American Book Publishing
Clayton Childress (University of Toronto – Scarborough)

10:00-10:20 BREAK

10:20-11:30 Parallel Panel Sessions 1

1.1 Work and Careers in Media (GSB 117)
Moderator: Casey Brienza
-Digital Vocations: Race, Capital, and Creativity in the Information Economy, Alex Cho (University of Texas at Austin) and Vivian Shaw (University of Texas at Austin)
-Becoming Jaded: Aging Out and Short Careers in the Music Business, Alexandre Frenette (John Jay College, City University of New York)
-Creatives: Initial Findings on the Early Careers of Commercial Artists, Matthew Rowe (University of California, Berkeley)
-Cafes as New Workplaces, Jeremy Joseph Vachet (LabSIC, Université de Paris XIII)
-“All Hits Have Fans”: Small Group Decision Making and the Rhetoric of Reality Television Program Development, Junhow Wei (University of Pennsylvania)

1.2 New Theoretical Interventions (GSB 110)
Moderator: Matthias Revers
-Gated Publics, Walled Gardens and the Dilemma of Privacy in the Digital Age, Payal Arora (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
-Is the Toronto School of Communication Too Old for the New Media?, Thomas Crosbie (Yale University) and Jonathan Roberge (Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique)
-Social Movements and Popular Culture, Jesse Klein (Florida State University)

1.3 Race and Media (GSB 124)
Moderator: Robin West Smith
-Controlling Race in the Public Sphere: A Collaboration between the State and Media Capitalists, Natalie Byfield (St. John’s University)
-Does Popular Network and Cable Television Programming Simultaneously Promote Colorblindness and Stereotypes of Nonwhites and If So, How?, Aaryn L. Green (University of Cincinnati)
-A Darker Horizon: Demographic Narratives, Racial Affects, and the Cultural Politics of the Future, Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz (Brown University)
-Hollywood’s Colorblind Racism, Nancy Wang Yuen (Biola University)

1.4 Information Dissemination (GSB 118)
Moderator: Gillian Brooks
-Beltway Bubble: How Political Ideas Fail to Spread From Elite News Organizations to Other Websites, Noah Grand (University of California, Los Angeles)
-Social Media and Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Sandy and Twitter, Dhiraj Murthy (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Alexander J. Gross
-Fear, Empathy, and Government Intervention: Television News Coverage of September 11th and the 2008 Financial Crisis, Timothy Recuber (Princeton University)
-Farming Out the News: An Analysis of Agriculture Coverage in Rural Newspapers, Sandra D. Robinson (California State University Monterey Bay)

11:30-11:50 BREAK

11:50-1:00 Parallel Panel Sessions 2

2.1 Gender and Media (GSB 117)
Moderator: Andrea Press
-Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Looking for Women in Late-Night TV: An Examination of Comedy, Gender, and Late-Night Television, Katie Cooper (University of South Florida)
-New Media, Democracy, and Slut-Shaming Women, Andrea Press (University of Virginia)
-From Stigma to Acceptance: Contemporary Teen Mothers in Popular Media, Tara M. Stamm (Florida State University)
-Invisible Feminism: BDSM Relationships and Fifty Shades of Grey Portrayals, Francesca Tripodi (University of Virginia)

2.2 Framing, Legitimation, and Self-Presentation (GSB 110)
Moderator: Clayton Childress
-Ambiguity and Dissent in Cinema Classification, Elif Alp (Columbia University)
-The Field of Online Journalism: A Study of the Legitimizing Practices of Online News Organizations, Gillian Brooks (University of Cambridge)
-Newspaper Images of Protest: The Pictorial Framing of Occupy Wall Street, Michael Neuber (Humboldt University of Berlin), Beth Gharrity Gardner (University of California, Irvine), and David A. Snow (University of California, Irvine)

2.3 Media Framing and Public Opinion (GSB 118)
Moderator: Jonathan Roberge
-Newspapers and Social Perception: The Representation of Organized Crime in Italy, Giovanni Frazzica (Università degli Studi di Palermo)
-What the Frack Are We Talking About? Defining the Fracking Debate in North Carolina, Kylah Hedding (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
-China’s “Airpocalypse” Gives Rise to the Civil Sphere, Haoyue Li (State University of New York at Albany)
-Social Problem or Social Condition: A Content Analysis of the Media’s Framing of the Pensioners in Detroit’s Municipal Bankruptcy, Robin West Smith (Wayne State University)

2.4 Interactive Workshop (GSB 124)
-Promoting Scholarship with Social Media, Dustin Kidd (Temple University)

1:00-2:30 LUNCH (Atrium)

2:30-3:40 Parallel Panel Sessions 3

3.1 Social Media and Organizations (GSB 117)
Moderator: Matthias Revers
-Social Media Marketing of Russian Regional Mass Media in Facebook, Aleksandr Berezkin (Far Eastern Federal University)
-Digital Media Diversity and Convergence: How the Nonprofit Organizations Choose and Use Digital Media, Boyang Fan (Peking University)
-Becoming Data: The Making of Web Analytics for Journalists, Caitlin Petre (New York University)
-Drones, Balloons, and Villages: An Analysis of Tech Corporations’ Digital Divide Initiatives, Cynthia Yee (New York University)

3.2 Media and Identity (GSB 118)
Moderator: Andrea Press
-Just Move to Michigan and Start a Revolution: Girls, the Midwest and the Creative Class, Simone Becque (Southern Illinois University)
-The Modern Working Woman in African American Romance Films, Maryann Erigha (University of Pennsylvania)
-Who is Nicki Minaj? Queer-Making & Gender Reconstruction in Hip Hop, Sonita Moss (University of Pennsylvania)
-The Middle Class as a Media Creation: A Comparative Study of Japan and China in a High Economic Development Period, Abigail Qian Zhou (University of Tokyo)

3.3 Web-based Methods, Teaching, and Social Action (GSB 110)
Moderator: Junhow Wei
-Sampling Methods in Studying Same-Sex Couples: The Importance of Web-based Techniques, Eli Alston-Stepnitz (San Francisco State University), David M. Frost (Columbia University), and Allen J. LeBlanc (San Francisco State University)
-Connecting with College Students: A Literature Review on Internet Communication Methods Used to Inform College Students, Valarie Burke (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
-Beyond Blockbusters: Deconstructing Freshmen Perception of Sociology through Hollywood, Tanni Chaudhuri (Rhode Island College)
-Use Your Skills to Solve This Challenge: Discourses of Micro-Action Online, Carla Ilten (University of Illinois at Chicago)
-From Solitude to Solidarity: The Internet as Face-to-Face Intermediary, Robyn Keith (University of Texas at Austin)

3:40-4:00 BREAK

4:00-5:10 Parallel Panel Sessions 4

4.1 Chinese Media Sociology (GSB 117)
Moderator: Haoyue Li
-Can Public Intellectuals Expand Social Influence by Using Social Media? The Case of China, Zhou Dai (University of Warwick)
-Research on Regional Differences of Public Opinions’ Communication Characteristics, Dan Ji (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) and Yungeng Xie (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
-Talking Politics in China: A Comparison of Microblog and Official Media’s Report on Public Policy, Muyang Li (State University of New York, Albany)
-Behind the Great Firewall of China, Fan Mai (University of Virginia)
-Empowerment or Disempowerment: The Role of New Media in the Migration Process of Chinese New Generation Migrant Workers, Xiaoting Sun (Renmin University)

4.2 Alternative/Niche Media (GSB 110)
Moderator: Dustin Kidd
-Jamming Culture: Webs of Meaning and Cultural Entropy in Adbusters Magazine, Matthew J. Chandler (University of Notre Dame) and Terence E. McDonnell (University of Notre Dame)
-Whitewashing the Nation: The House of Terror Museum in Budapest, Hungary, Helge Johannes Marahrens (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
-Shoot ‘em in the Head: On the Transgressive Potency of Modern Horror Cinema, Andrew Owen (Cabrini College)
-In Defense of Selfies: The Conspicuous Prosumption of Experience on Social Media, Apryl Williams (Texas A&M University)

4.3 Media and Social Movements (GSB 118)
Moderator: Noah Grand
-How the Hashtag Revolutionizes the Way We Collectively Contend for Interests, Eric Borja (University of Texas at Austin)
-Contemporary Forms of Democracy, Social Actors and New Media, Leocadia Díaz Romero (Murcia State University)
-When the Internet Becomes Marginal: Digital Divide and Political Participation in Putin’s Russia, Polina Kolozaridi (National Research University Higher School of Economics) and Tatiana Tatarchevskiy
-Are They Not Worthy?: Social Movements, Legitimacy, and Partisan Media, Eulalie Jean Laschever (University of California, Irvine)
-From Street Protests to Facebook Campaigns: Political Cynicism, Efficacy and Online Political Engagement of Sri Lankan Students, Chamil Rathnayake (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)

4.4 Section Formation Strategy Meeting (CLOSED SESSION) (GSB 124)

5:10-5:30 BREAK

5:30-7:00 Plenary Discussion Panel (GSB 117)
Media Sociology as a Vocation
Moderator: Casey Brienza
Laura Grindstaff (University of California, Davis)
Paul Hirsch (Northwestern University)
Ronald Jacobs (University at Albany, SUNY)
Paul Lopes (Colgate University)
Guobin Yang (University of Pennsylvania)

7:00 CLOSE