Call for Applications, 6th CMSTW Annual conference 'Emotions vs. Rationality in Mediated Discussion

Theme for 2018: Emotions vs. Rationality in Mediated Discussions

Emotions have always been part of the public discourse as a key baking agent polarizing social groups, helping to aggregate interests, and shaping decision-making. From protest solidarity to compassion fatigue, it is the emotions that distance the public sphere from its reason-based ideal and at the same time make the discussions more appealing to media audiences. And while rationality has produced a major line in media studies, emotions per se have been a smaller research focus. Today, we still lack knowledge on how emotional and rational arguments go together in mediated discussions, especially in comparative perspective.

And this lack has become even more acute in the 2010s, with the extreme ‘emotionalization’ of election campaigns and referenda, ‘border-building thinking’, the new rise of international militant rhetoric,, use of televised shock by terrorists, and affective debates on social networks virtually everywhere including the USA, Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. In the climate of information spinning and alt-news, the Habermassian all-encompassing public sphere seems impossible as never before. But at the same time, computer-mediated communication has opened doors for cross-cultural solidarity campaigning on inequalities and human rights, as well as to opportunities of visual ad audiovisual expression of feelings on a mass scale.

Thus, the conference is seeking contributions that deal with rationality, irrationality, emotions and affects in mediated communication. We especially welcome comparative research but do not limit ourselves to it, as case studies may be crucial for understanding trends. The aim of the conference is to go beyond statements on ‘fake news’ and ‘propaganda reborn’ and to look deeper into causes and consequences of the communicative shifts of the recent times. We hope to link communication researchers to their colleagues in wider social sciences, including sociology, public memory studies, social psychology, and international relations, as well as to linguists, mathematicians, and computer scientists interested in media research.

In 2018, the conference will have three tracks:

  • The ‘Theory’ track, traditional for the conference, will deal with emotionality and rationality in communication from a variety of theoretical perspectives.
  • The ‘Political&Social’ track will explore the linkages between emotionality in politics and that in political communication, emotions in political talk in media and social communicative milieus, rationality and affect in public argumentation, and other aspects of emotionalized media discussions on the issues of today’s agendas.
  • The ‘Tech&Methods’ track will focus on detecting emotions and linking it to other methodologies of social research including (but not limited to) automated methods such as social network analysis, detection of discussion topics, or user homophily studies. Here, the goal is to link the methods and the national/comparative contexts for better understanding of the changes in communication around the world.

On the Conference

Since 2013, the conference has gathered experts in comparative media research, including Paolo Mancini, Larry Gross, Silvio Waisbord, Katrin Voltmer, Nico Carpentier, Susanne Fengler, Elena Vartanova, Thomas Hanitzsch, Daya Thussu and many others.

The conference is an integral part of ‘Media in Modern World’ Annual Forum which will be held by St. Petersburg State University for the 57th time in 2018. Thus, interested audience is ensured, and you may wish to take part in the Plenary Session (with simultaneous translation into English) and all sorts of discussions at the Annual Forum on April 19-20.

Abstract submission

Please send us an abstract of max 300 words specifying the scope, method, and main results of your research paper by January 15, 2018 to as MS Word or Adobe Acrobat files attached to the letter. Please indicate whether the abstract is prepared by young scholars (PhD and/or Master students).

Panel submissions are also welcome. Please submit a one-page description of your panel and up to four 150-word abstracts showing the relevance of the papers to the panel topic to the same conference address by January 15, 2018.

All applications will be double-blind peer-reviewed, so please attach the names, titles, contact details, and affiliations of the authors on a separate sheet.

Please indicate in the application letter whether you need a Russian visa.

PhD paper contest

Our generous Steering committee member Katrin Voltmer has established a prize for the best PhD paper of the conference. The content of the prize is 150 euro; it has been established for three consecutive years. The eligible papers must be written exclusively by young scholars (PhD and/or Master students); both individual and group submissions are welcome. The volume of the paper must be between 4,000 and 6,000 words in English (excluding bibliography but including tables, pictures, and other appendices).

Also, up to ten best papers will be offered a publication in the School journal.

Both options work only for the papers actually presented at the conference.

To participate in the contest, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Submit a 300-word abstract to by January 15, 2018;
  2. Wait for the decision of the selection committee;
  3. In case of a positive decision on your abstract, please submit the full version to the same email by March 1, 2018.

Formatting guidelines will be provided to the authors of the abstracts selected for presentations after January 27, 2018.

MS Word files only will be accepted for reviewing.

Participation fees

  • Presenter, UN Tier 1 country: 100 euro (early-bird: 80 euro), or 7000 roubles (early-bird: 5600 roubles)
  • Presenter, UN Tier 2 country: 80 euro (early-bird: 60 euro), or 5600 roubles (early-bird: 4200 roubles)
  • Presenter, UN Tier 3 country: 70 euro (early-bird: 50 euro), or 5000 roubles (early-bird: 3500 roubles)
  • Panel participation: 200 euro (early-bird: 170 euro), or 14000 roubles (early-bird: 12000 roubles)
  • Student presenter – 20 euro, or 1500 roubles
  • Non-presenting participant – 20 euro, or 1500 roubles

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