Call for Papers : Datafication of media (and) audiences

Special issue of MedieKultur: Journal of media and communication research.

Academic knowledge built over the last five decades on media audiences may be called into question by algorithmic recommendations, machine learning, platform design and new metrics that describe, anticipate and shape the audience’s every move. While we hold that audiences are selective in their choice of content (Katz et al., 1974), form communities of interpretation (Fish, 1980) and are freely giving their attention to public issues (Warner, 2002), it would appear that they are now increasingly being selected, calculated, interpreted and anticipated by media on the basis of a wide range of data provided more or less willingly and consciously. This datafication of media (and) audiences – i.e. the quantification of audience mediated experiences – is not to be understood simply as a new form of knowledge, but also as a new era in the commodification of audiences, challenging our understanding of audiences as an agentic and autonomous subjects.

This special issue invites contributions that :

  • explore critically the tensions between, on the one hand, attempts at control and commodification made possible by the datafication of media (and) audiences, and on the other hand, the reactions and agentic possibilities of audiences to comply, avoid or cope with these attempts at control ;
  • provide empirical basis to answer broad and worrying questions about the democratic and societal consequences of datafication, about its impact on media consumption, everyday and cultural life, by operationalizing media audiences as a key actor in mediated processes of datafication ;
  • shed light on and theorise new forms of relation and mutual influence that link media with their audiences in the age of datafication.


Deadline for absract submission : January 15th 2020

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