Historically, mass media (print, television and radio) has been the primarily loci for advertising, news broadcasts and entertainment shows. These days, however, media outlets have morphed from mass (top-down) communication to socially oriented (horizontal) computer-mediated communication. Engaging with the various histories, powers and representation of the very many media forms is far from exhausted with this year’s focus on transnationalism in its diverse mediated forms.
Initiated in 2005 and previously hosted in UK, USA and Ireland, and Germany, the Language in the Media (LiM) conference will be held for the first time in South Africa. The conference theme, namely “language and the media(tisa)tion of (trans)nationalism” is particularly relevant for South Africa as it resonates with an emerging Southern critique of reduced, misrepresented and/or essentialised Southern everyday representations in the media. Notably, the theme not only seeks to foreground investigations of how different forms of (trans)nationalism are produced and circulated linguistically/discursively in a variety of media sites; it also highlights analyses of the role played by the media in commodifying language(s) and other semiotic resources (such as the body) and disseminate them through global, transnational networks. Finally, we are also interested in papers that draw upon empirical data in order to question a geopolitics of knowledge that has historically privileged “Northern” theorising in media sociolinguistics.
Alongside this focus, the 2017 conference, as it has done from its inception, will continue to prioritise papers which address the range of sociolinguistic topics in relation to the media broadly defined: language standardization and style; language policy and practice; language acquisition; multilingualism and cross-/inter-cultural communication; communication in professional contexts; representations of speech, thought, and writing; language and class, dis/ability, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality and age; political discourse, commerce and global capitalism; language and education.
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