The Political Economy of Convergence

Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 11:35:59 GMT+1000
From: "Naren Chitty" 
Subject: Convergence: Call for Papers

Call for Papers
The Political Economy of Convergence
London 6-8 September 1999

The Centre for Communication and Information Studies of the University
of Westminster (CCIS), in association with the European Institute for
Communication and Culture (Euricom), intends to hold a Colloquium on
the Political Economy of Convergence, at our Harrow campus in London.

Convergence is a key term in contemporary discourses about the media. 
Everyone, academics, businessmen, politicians and planners,
journalists, is constantly talking about the impact that convergence
will have on every area of human life.  At one level, there is
consensus about what is under discussion: in technical terms,
convergence refers to the ways in which the development of
computer-mediated communication systems and the digitalization of
content mean that the boundaries between different media are eroding. 
`Any content, over any platform, anywhere, at any time' is the slogan
that expresses the aspiration of the engineers.  Most people argue
that this is, or will be soon, an established technological reality.

At another level, however, there is much more confusion.  Convergence
is not only a technical question but also an economic, social and
political issue.  There is much more debate in this area over just
what the implications for business, for the system of states, and for
the life of the ordinary citizens, will actually be.  On the one hand,
there are those who see the technical changes producing of necessity a
social transformation of revolutionary proportions, affecting work,
leisure, politics, and every other area of our lives.  On the other
hand, there are those who stress the gradual and cumulative nature of
the changes, and the extent to which the realisation of the potential
of technological innovation depends upon social and economic
decisions.  At every level from the business model of the converged
company to the regulatory framework appropriate for international
communication, there are a range of different views.

This Colloquium aims to bring together academics and industry figures
to discuss these differing perspectives.  In keeping with the
traditions established in Colloquia organised with Euricom, the
organisers do not wish to prioritise any particular method or approach
within the scope of the overall topic.  We would, however, identify
the following general themes as being particularly interesting to us:

1]  The impact on trade and employment
2]  The impact on existing regulatory codes and bodies
3]  Business strategies and industrial policies
4]  Changes in the patterns of work and leisure 
5]  Democratic control over societies
6]  Changes in media content and forms

Papers are invited on any of these topics, or upon other issues
defined by prospective participants.  In keeping with the established
practice of the Colloquia, a special issue of the journal Javnost/The
Public will be published containing some of the papers.  The
organisers will make every effort to find a publisher for a book
containing a wider selection of material.

Prospective participants should send abstracts of about 200 words to
Professor Colin Sparks ( as soon as possible,
and in any event by 28 February 1999.  Invitations will be issued by
the end of March 1999. 

For further information about The European Institute for Communication
and Culture, and publications from previous Colloquia, visit the
Euricom web site at:

Colin Sparks
CCIS University of Westminster
Northwick Park Campus
Watford Road  Middlesex HA1 3TP UK
Tel: +44 (0) 171 911 5941  
Fax: +44 (0) 171 911 5942