Call for papers

‘Mediating democracy’ conference – call for papers

2015 will see a much-anticipated parliamentary election in the UK, at a time in which previously marginalized political parties and movements appear to have caught the public imagination. These seem to be radically interesting times in British politics: Scotland has stayed in Britain, but will Britain be set to leave Europe…?



‘Mediating democracy’


Thursday 5th and Friday 6th November 2015


2015 is also the 750th anniversary of the first election of parliamentary representatives in England, and the 800th anniversary of that nation’s key constitutional document, Magna Carta. (It also, incidentally, happens to be the year in which the University of Chester is celebrating its own 175th anniversary.)

2015 will also have witnessed significant national elections with broad international impacts in such places as Greece, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Nigeria, Tanzania, Egypt and Israel. Nor can we forget that we are now less than a year away from the start of the U.S. presidential primaries.

Thus the theme of this year’s annual conference of the Political Studies Association’s Media & Politics Group is the mediation of democracy in action through public, journalistic and political communications.

We welcome papers which relate to this broad theme, both in relation to British and international cases and situations: from the reporting of elections and political campaigning communications to the role of the mass media in the representation, promotion and mediation of radical and extremist influences – from Russell Brand and Nigel Farage to Boko Haram and Islamic State. For example, such issues might include:

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of political communications in framing election processes and promoting democratic engagement?
  • How should public and independent media organizations report on elections and election campaigns?
  • Do media institutions and platforms have a role in maintaining or deconstructing public trust in the traditional structures of democracy?
  • Can new media forms support the renewal of civic participation or are they merely recruitment grounds for the angry and disaffected?
  • Are established media or emergent political opportunists responsible for our apparent democratic deficits?
  • How ethically and politically responsible can we really expect a free media to be?
  • And how free do modern democracies really want their media to be?

While the conference is primarily themed around the relationship between contemporary media forms and democratic processes and structures, the Media & Politics Group operates an open and inclusive policy, and papers dealing with any aspect of media and politics are welcomed. This may include areas of political communication and journalism, but also includes a broader view of the political within such areas as online media, television, cinema and media arts, both factual and fictional.

In addition to academic research, the conference will also welcome practice-based work in art, film and performance related to the area of media and politics.

The Political Studies Association is the UK’s leading association in the study and research of politics. The Media & Politics Group is one of the Political Studies Association’s largest specialist groups.

The MPG is a welcoming and inclusive group. The conference welcomes contributions both from members and non-members of the Political Studies Association and of the Media & Politics Group.

Proposals for 15 minute papers should include the following: title and name, institutional affiliation and address, and email address, together with a paper title and abstract of not more than 300 words. Proposers should also indicate whether or not they are current postgraduate students.

Proposals should be sent by Friday 12 June 2015 to Dr Alec Charles (Head of Media, University of Chester) at

All abstracts will undergo peer review and decisions on papers will be given as soon as possible (and at the latest within three weeks of the submission deadline).

Full papers submitted by postgraduate students will be entered into the James Thomas Memorial Prize. This annual award is presented to the most outstanding paper by a postgraduate student at the Media and Politics Group Annual Conference.

The Media & Politics Group offers a limited number of travel subsidies (up to the value of £100) to support postgraduate student participation in this event. Postgraduate students interested in applying for these subsidies should please note this in their submission.

It is intended that a selection of papers from the conference will be published in book form.

More information can be found at: