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[liberationtech] CfP: Marx is Back - The Importance of Marxist Theory and Research for Critical Communication Studies Today

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at
Thu Jul 21 02:48:40 PDT 2011

Marx is Back: The Importance of Marxist Theory and Research for Critical 
Communication Studies Today

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of tripleC – Journal for a Global 
Sustainable Information Society.

Edited by Christian Fuchs and Vincent Mosco
For inquiries, please contact the two editors.

In light of the global capitalist crisis, there is renewed interest in 
Karl Marx’s works and in concepts like class, exploitation and surplus 
value. Slavoj Žižek argues that the antagonisms of contemporary 
capitalism in the context of the ecological crisis, the massive 
expansion of intellectual property, biogenetics, new forms of apartheid 
and growing world poverty show that we still need the Marxian notion of 
class. He concludes that there is an urgent need to renew Marxism and to 
defend its lost causes in order to render problematic capitalism as the 
only alternative (Žižek 2008, 6) and the new forms of a soft capitalism 
that promise, and in its rhetoric makes use of, ideals like 
participation, self-organization, and co-operation, without realizing 
them. Žižek (2010, chapter 3) argues that the global capitalistcrisis 
clearly demonstrates the need to return to the critique of political 
economy. Göran Therborn suggests that the “new constellations of power 
and new possibilities of resistance” in the 21st century require 
retaining the “Marxian idea that human emancipation from exploitation, 
oppression, discrimination and the inevitable linkage between privilege 
and misery can only come from struggle by the exploited and 
disadvantaged themselves” (Therborn 2008, 61). Eric Hobsbawm (2011, 12f) 
insists that for understanding the global dimension of contemporary 
capitalism, its contradictions and crises, and the persistence of 
socio-economic inequality, we “must ask Marx’s questions” (13). 

This special issue will publish articles that address the importance of 
Karl Marx’s works for Critical Media and Communication Studies, what it 
means to ask Marx’s questions in 21st century informational capitalism, 
how Marxian theory can be used for critically analyzing and transforming 
media and communication today, and what the implications of the revival 
of the interest in Marx are for the field of Media and Communication 

Questions that can be explored in contributions include, but are not 
limited to:

* What is Marxist Media and Communication Studies? Why is it needed 
today? What are the main assumptions, legacies, tasks, methods and 
categories of Marxist Media and Communication Studies and how do they 
relate to Karl Marx’s theory? What are the different types of Marxist 
Media/Communication Studies, how do they differ, what are their 

* What is the role of Karl Marx’s theory in different fields, subfields 
and approaches of Media and Communication Studies? How have the role, 
status, and importance of Marx’s theory for Media and Communication 
Studies evolved historically, especially since the 1960s?
* In addition to his work as a theorist and activist, Marx was a 
practicing journalist throughout his career. What can we learn from his 
journalism about the practice of journalism today, about journalism 
theory, journalism education and alternative media?
* What have been the 
structural conditions, limits and problems for conducting 
Marxian-inspired Media and Communication Research and for carrying out 
university teaching in the era of neoliberalism? What are actual or 
potential effects of the new capitalist crisis on these conditions?

What is the relevance of Marxian thinking in an age of capitalist crisis 
for analyzing the role of media and communication in society?

* How can the Marxian notions of class, class struggle, surplus value, 
exploitation, commodity/commodification, alienation, globalization, 
labour, capitalism, militarism and war, ideology/ideology critique, 
fetishism, and communism best be used for analyzing, transforming and 
criticizing the role of media, knowledge production and communication in 
contemporary capitalism?

* How are media, communication, and information addressed in Marx’s work?
* What are commonalities and differences between contemporary approaches 
in the interpretation of Marx’s analyses of media, communication, 
knowledge, knowledge labour and technology?

* What is the role of dialectical philosophy and dialectical analysis as 
epistemological and methodological tools for Marxian-inspired Media and 
Communication Studies?

* What were central assumptions of Marx about media, communication, 
information, knowledge production, culture and how can these insights be 
used today for the critical analysis of capitalism?
* What is the relevance of Marx’s work for an understanding of social 

* Which of Marx’s works can best be used today to theorize media and 
communication? Why and how?

* Terry Eagleton (2011) demonstrates that the 10 most common held 
prejudices against Marx are wrong. What prejudices against Marx can be 
found in Media and Communication Studies today? What have been the 
consequences of such prejudices? How can they best be contested? Are 
there continuities and/or discontinuities of prejudices against Marx in 
light of the new capitalist crisis?

All contributions shall genuinely deal with Karl Marx’s original works 
and discuss their relevance for contemporary Critical 
Media/Communication Studies.

Eagleton Terry. 2011. Why Marx was right. London: Yale University Press.
Hobsbawm, Eric. 2011. How to change the world. Marx and Marxism 
1840-2011. London: Little, Brown.
Therborn, Göran. 2008. From Marxism to post-Marxism? London: Verso.
Žižek, Slavoj. 2008. In defense of lost causes. London: Verso.
Žižek, Slavoj. 2010. Living in the end times. London: Verso.


Christian Fuchs is chair professor for Media and Communication Studies 
at Uppsala University’s Department of Informatics and Media. He is 
editor of the journal tripleC – Journal for a Global Sustainable 
Information Society. His areas of interest are: Critical Theory, Social 
Theory, Media & Society, Critical Political Economy of 
Media/Communication, Critical Information Society Studies, Critical 
Internet Studies. He is author of the books “Foundations of Critical 
Media and Information Studies” (Routledge 2011) and “Internet and 
Society: Social Theory in the Information Age” (Routledge 2008, 
paperback 2011). He is co-editor of the collected volume “The Internet 
and Surveillance. The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media” (Routledge 
2011, together with Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund, Marisol 
Sandoval). He is currently writing a book presenting a critical theory 
of social media. 

Vincent Mosco is professor emeritus of sociology at Queen's University 
and formerly Canada Research Chair in Communication and Society. Dr. 
Mosco is the author of numerous books on communication, technology, and 
society. His most recent include Getting the Message: Communications 
Workers and Global Value Chains (co-edited with Catherine McKercher and 
Ursula Huws, Merlin, 2010), The Political Economy of Communication, 
second edition (Sage, 2009), The Laboring of Communication: Will 
Knowledge Workers of the World Unite (co-authored with Catherine 
McKercher, Lexington Books, 2008), Knowledge Workers in the Information 
Society (co-edited with Catherine McKercher, Lexington Books, 2007), and 
The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2004). He 
is currently writing a book on the relevance of Karl Marx for 
communication research today.

Publication Schedule and Submission

Structured Abstracts for potential contributions shall be submitted to 
both editors (christian.fuchs at, moscov at per e-mail until 
September 30th, 2011 (submission deadline). The authors of accepted 
abstracts will be invited to write full papers that are due five months 
after the feedback from the editors. Full papers must then be submitted 
to tripleC. Please do not instantly submit full papers, but only 
structured abstracts to the editors.
The abstracts should have a maximum 
of 1 200 words and should be structured by dealing separately with each 
of the following five dimensions: 

1) Purpose and main questions of the paper

2) Description of the way taken for answering the posed questions

3) Relevance of the topic in relation to the CfP

4) Main expected outcomes and new insights of the paper

5) Contribution to the engagement with Marx’s works and to 
Marxian-inspired Media and Communication Studies


tripleC (cognition, communication, co-operation): Open Access Journal 
for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 

Focus and Scope:

Critical Media-/Information-/ Communication-/Internet-/Information 

tripleC provides a forum to discuss the challenges humanity is facing today.
It publishes contributions that focus on critical studies of media, 
information, communication, culture, digital media, social media and the 
Internet in the information society. The journal’s focus is especially 
on critical studies and it asks contributors to reflect about normative, 
political, ethical and critical implications of their research.

Scopus, EBSCOHost Communication and Mass Media Complete, Directory of 
Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Open Access:
tripleC is an open access journal that publishes articles online and 
does not charge authors or readers. It uses a Creative Commons license 
(Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License) that allows reproduction of 
published articles for non-commercial purposes (without changes of the 
content and only with naming the author). Creative Commons publishing 
poses a viable alternative to commercial academic publishing that is 
dominated by big corporate publishing houses.

-- Prof. Christian Fuchs
Chair in Media and Communication Studies
Department of Informatics and Media
Uppsala University
Kyrkogårdsgatan 10
Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
christian.fuchs at
Tel +46 (0) 18 471 1019
NetPolitics Blog:
Editor of tripleC:
Book "Foundations of Critical Media and Information Studies" (Routledge 
Book "Internet and Society" (Paperback, Routledge 2010)

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