Digitizing Intercultural Communication in Press and Media

The rapid development of new media has been the main force accelerating the trend of globalization in human society in recent decades. New media has brought human interaction and society to a highly interconnected and complex level, but at the same time challenges the very existence of intercultural communication in its traditional sense. It is under this circumstance that we see more and more scholars becoming involved in the investigation of the relationship between new media and intercultural communication.

Emerging topical areas in this line of research mainly include three categories:

  1. the impact of national/ethnic culture on the development of new media,
  2. the impact of new media on cultural/social identity, and
  3. the impact of new media (especially social media) on different aspects of intercultural communication (e.g., intercultural relationships, intercultural adaptation, and intercultural conflict).

We therefore seek conference delegates willing to discuss this trend of research on the relationship between new media and intercultural communication.

Digitizing Intercultural Communication at the Workplace

Industry is a “part of an economy that produces material goods, which are highly mechanized and automatized” (Lasi, 2014). Ever since the beginning of industrialization, technological leaps have led to major paradigm shifts, which today are ex-post named “industrial revolutions”. The accelerated mechanization process that occurred in Great Britain gave rise to the first industrial revolution usually dated around 1780 (with the invention of steam engine by James Watt in 1769 as a triggering event) and based on steam power (Townroe, 1979). The second industrial revolution is generally synonymous with the intensive use of electrical energy, but one must omit that it was conceptually a holistic construct as the second industrial revolution spanned over forty-four years (from 1870 to 1914) and encompasses other aspects such as change in the organization of production, and rise of technological systems such railroad, telegraph, cities’ gas, water supply and sewage systems (Mokyr, 1990). While some authors associate the third revolution with “widespread digitization” (Lasi, 2014), others equate more precisely with automation of production using computers, numerical control and programmable logic controllers (Bahrin et al, 2016) or even discuss the automation of services in the USA as a service sector revolution (Collier, 1983).

Industry 4.0 dictates the end of traditional centralized applications for production control. Its vision of ecosystems of smart factories with intelligent and autonomous shop-floor entities is inherently decentralized. Responding to customer demands for tailored products, these plants fueled by technology enablers such as 3D printing, Internet of Things, Cloud computing, Mobile Devices and Big Data, among others create a totally new environment. Some of these technologies are operated at the level of individual level; some, such like manufacturing execution systems (MES) control organizations; the most disruptive ones (Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Mobile devices) reach out to the global economy, acting both as enablers and risk factors. Consequences of these technologies’ implementation can be read in the behaviours of social actors, but also in the organization of production in a given manufacture, or in the design of public policies to protect data, notwithstanding fierce global competition over acquisition and exclusivity for big data as well as industrial espionage through increasingly intrusive connectivity. This sub-theme session looks actively for scholars interested in making sense of social actions and decision intertwined between micro and macro social spaces.

Digitizing Intercultural Communication in Arts and Music

Imagination, creativity, innovation and problem solving are intertwined in the process of art creation. These ingredients are at the same time the manifestation of diversity and the result of interaction, dialogue and cultural influence, which promote new forms of cultural expression and permits cultural survival and adaptation. Without undervaluing the aesthetic dimension of art, this book highlights its communicative dimension and cultural pervasiveness. Art seen as a manifestation of intentionality, personal will and social significance is analysed from the angle of its multiple impacts in cultural, political, economic, social, philosophical, or religious aspects of life in the public sphere. The communicative powers of music have been prized at numerous occasions, ranging from the more dubious experiments of presenting Beethoven to Amazon Indians2 to more “traditional” examples of using different music in education around the world. Also in more daily life, a kind of consensus exists on the positive power of music in inter-cultural (and inter-human) communication. This is put into words through expressions like ‘Music knows of no race’, ‘Universal music’ and ‘Music across boarders’.

Undoubtedly, music has the ability to communicate, also cross-culturally. The question is how and what it communicates. What exactly is the merit of different forms of artistic expression in the field of intercultural communication? How can art contribute to sustain or promote social cohesion in neighbourhoods, in the groups and community and in the larger society? How can art projects become part of the peacekeeping process in unstable, conflicting societies? Are there any strategies and good practices for creative industries to act as promoters of intercultural dialogue and an understanding of the Other? These are among the questions that could be discussed in depth by conference delegates. We also welcome with particular interest papers elaborating on Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and Music Encoding Initiative (MEI).

Digitizing Intercultural Communication for Cultural Heritage

R. Williams wrote in 1960 that “culture cannot be abridged to its tangible products, because it is continuously living and evolving” (Williams, 1960: 11). Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2006, the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage was approved by 112 national governments (Logan, 2009: 14). The 2003 UNESCO Convention, following, common practice, describes intangible cultural heritage in the form of a list, “as oral traditions and expressions – such as epics, takes and stories, performing arts – including music, song, dance, puppetry and theatre, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe – for example folk medicine and folk astronomy, traditional craftsmanship, as well as the sites and spaces in which culturally significant activities and events occur” (Kurin, 2004: 67). The convention’s definition, although objectively inclusive, yet remains problematic as it excludes language (ibid, p. 69) and retains the ambiguous “folk” term as a descriptor. Phrases such as “Folk medicine” and “Folk astronomy” appear in the aforementioned definition, pertaining to the broader category of “Folklore”. According to Safinaz at al. (2001), the idiom “folklore” means “the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, legends, customs (practices of people) transmitted orally (Zafinaz et al, 2001: 164). The latter specification proves to be of utmost importance as it limits social diffusion properties of the folklore concept to the “oral transmission of knowledge from particular groups through education or experience, while cultural heritage is a social transmitted human work and thought, which is inherited” (ibid, p. 164). This session wishes to interrogate the shift from oral transmission to digital communication of such cultural heritage and therefore welcome related research proposals.

Digitizing Intercultural Communication for Food and Social Justice

Academic literature is flooded with academic papers examining correlation of racialised neighbourhoods with poor diet, leveraging especially on the notion of food deserts where residents have little to no access to healthy and affordable food (see Cummins and Macintyre, 2002; Wrigley et al. 2003). In the USA, Black neighbourhoods often embody typical characteristics of food deserts, where “it is easier to get fried chicken than a fresh apple” (Brownell & Batlle Horgen, 2003).
Kwate argues that “in general, empirical research demonstrates an association between low area income and fast food prevalence in the US (Burdette & Whitaker, 2004: Stewart and Davis, 2005) and internationally” (Kwate, 2008: 36).

Kwate’s thesis presenting association of racialised neighbourhoods with poor diet leading to obesity is nonetheless debated, starting with Black and Macinko who ponder the causality of racial composition of neighbourhoods on obesity, stating that at best correlation appears “mixed” (Black & Macinko, 2008:2). Black and Macinko tend to stress more on the role of neighbourhood features that either discourage or encourage physical activity. The heart of the debate thus stands on the determinism of the neighbourhood upon public health. When the concept of neighbourhood equates with the one of community, one tends to correlates association of race or ethnicity to poor eating habits, the latter being subject to sole availability of “junk food” in the said neighbourhood. Therefore typology of food outlets correlates with race or ethnicity, making a fast food racially exclusive, at least in specified American urban contexts.

In this subtheme session, conference organizers wish to go beyond the junk food/poor racialised neighbourhood dualism and investigate conceptually close dualisms or dualities beyond the Northern American context, focusing on the digital modalities of communication of such phenomena.

Important note:
Such sub-themes are indicative and reflect solely our conference organization. The list of these sub-themes is not exhaustive. We welcome papers related to other conceptual sub-themes than the ones presented here above, as long as research proposals draw on the overall theme of the conference.

We wish to specify that we do not accept poster presentations. Only live paper presentations will be considered.

Paper Submission Modalities

Interested scholars may submit a 300 word abstract, with a maximum of 5 keywords.
The abstract must indicate full name of author(s), institution of affiliation, as well as identification and email address of the corresponding author.

Kindly submit your abstract to [email protected]