Centre for Cultural History in Contemporary Societies
University of Versailles Saint Quentin Presents
2009 International Doctoral Candidates Conference
Representing Political Figures in Mass Media
(XVIIIth – XXe century)
Wednesday, May 13th 2009
University Library Auditorium,
University of Versailles Saint Quentin
Only doctoral and post doctoral candidate’s papers will be considered for this conference. Confirmed researchers will be invited to attend the event.
The Representing Political Figures in Mass Media conference works within the field of international cultural history and invites reflection on the images (still and animated) and discourses of power. Political figures are the source of a complex imaginary that fascinates both media and public. Consider how contemporary electoral campaigns, TV clips, presidential speeches, political biographies, election posters function today. This is not a new phenomenon: political communication and the development of public personalities are familiar political practices. « Peopolisation » is a new and rapidly developing area of study that has drawn the attentions of cultural historians and political observers. Studies in political representation increasingly consider the significance of longer time-frames, the impact of evolving media practices, and benefit from international and comparative perspectives.
Representing Political Figures in Mass Media conference operates within the field of international cultural history and invites reflection on the images (still and animated) and discourses of power.
We invite researchers who work on the representations of individuals in power in European and American countries to investigate how the modalities of the mass media are used to popularize politics and how these in turn inform the construction of political memory and/or national identity. Proposals should address the media representations of political figures (be they a local personality or a prominent national politician) from 1776 to the present. Primary focus will be European and American democracies.
The conference will focus on the conditions involved in the processes of creation, production and reception of the media products. This observation will enable us to get a clearer view on the degree to which politicians are responsible for their image in the media.
The following aspects should be considered:
- The politician’s language and non verbal communication, attitude, clothing’s social codes, etc.: the researcher will need to explain the symbols used by the politician and his references (intertextuality).
- The situations selected for representation, the actions and ideas at the core of the discourse, the kind of role he projects to the outside world (the role of an actor or an observer, of a leader or a coordinator), and the closeness the politician intends to have with its audience (the degree to which he wants to be a brother, a friend, a colleague, a professor and the affective levels implied in each degree).
- The reference to functions aside from the political: does he present himself as an athlete, a family man, a seducer, a businessman, an intellectual, a peace, ecology or social activist, etc.
- The setting and staging will be considered as important actors in the message too.
No media will be excluded from the conference, as long as they contribute to explaining the cultural meaning behind the representations of men of power. Fictions and information will be considered equally, and diversity of sources will be appreciated. Studies on television, radio, press (main and specialised / newspaper, magazines, online), photography, books, posters, online material, etc. will all be accepted.
An international comparative approach will be greatly appreciated, but is not a requirement. Although the conference will ultimately aim at defining a comparative international field of research, the committee believes this can also be achieved by a cross-comparison of national cases. To make its cultural history approach complete, the conference will take into consideration the circulation of images and cultural transfers.
The main purpose of the conference will be to better appreciate how the popular outlook on the politician has transformed during the past two centuries.
These are the main directions of the conference sessions:
• The relation of the politician to public opinion
• « Peopolisation »: the confusion between private and public life, between the worlds of politics and celebrities
• Biographies and autobiographies
• Practices and rituals
Presentations can be delivered in English or in French. Participants presenting in English are asked to turn in a 1500 word abstract before March 31st, 2009. This conference will result in a publication.
Paper proposals submission:
300 words text (in French or in English) with a clear title should be send before December 31st 2008 to SOPHIE KIENLEN firstname.lastname@example.org.
We kindly request candidates to include the following information: status and current functions, field of study, thesis subject, doctoral/post-doctoral year, the name of your tutor, university (with address), laboratory and doctoral school.
Scientific committee’s answer: February 15th 2009
Diana Cooper Richet, Caroline Moine, Jean-Claude Yon, Christian Delporte (CHCSC -University of Versailles), John Dean (SUDS - UVSQ), Ouzi Elyada (Haïfa University)
Sophie Kienlen, Géraldine Poels and Sylvain Lesage (Government Doctoral Candidate - Teaching Fellow, UVSQ)
Klervi Le Collen (Doctoral Candidate, UVSQ)
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