ICA 2016

ICA 2016

ICA (International Communication Association)er en fem dager lang konferanse som tar for seg et bredt spekter av det siste innen forskning på kommunikasjon. Det er 2,500 deltakere fra universiteter og forskningsmiljø fra mer enn 40 land med til sammen 550 presentasjoner. For mer informasjon om ICA, og for mulighet til å søke på datoer og oversikt over programmet og presentasjoner se her, for hovedsiden se her.

Presentasjoner fra deltakere i POLKOM med abstract: 

Kalsnes, B., Larsson, A., & Enli, G  (2016, Japan) The social media logic of political interaction: Exploring citizens’ and politicians’ relationship on Facebook and Twitter

This article examines citizens’ interactions with politicians in social media in what is referred to as an everyday context. Through a representative survey, we compare the influence of a series of socio-demographical variables such as political interest, age, gender and education on the interaction levels between citizens and politicians. The article argues that the social media logic of connectivity can be operationalized into “connected affordances” – Redistribution, Interacting and Acknowledging – which are the three types of user practices on Facebook and Twitter. The study finds that Facebook is a service where “ordinary” people engage in political interaction with political actors – and receiving replies from politicians – while Twitter is mostly used by a small group of the population for these purposes. Hence, the popularity of Facebook could be seen as allowing for new connections between citizens and political actors without mass media as a mediator. Our results suggest that the stronger political interest the citizens express, the more use of connective affordances – such as commenting and sharing – is undertaken. Political interest also impacts what response citizens receive from political actors in social media.

Ihlen, Ø. (2016, June). Comfortably numb: Public relations perspectives on lobbying. Paper presented at the 66th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Fukuoka, Japan.

This paper picks up where Scott Davidson’s literature review (2014) left off focusing on the civic role of lobbying and ideals that lobbying is ascribed in public relations. Much public relations theory argues for a symmetrical or dialogue-based approach to communication. More often than not, the theories of the field seem to suggest the ability to dissolve conflicts. The ideal lobbyist should develop an ability to listen, collect information and build trust and relations in a “fitting manner” (McGrath, 2006). Jaatinen (1997), for instance has argued, by way of Grunig, that lobbyists should choose a tactic that preserves a long-term relationship to stakeholders. In other words, lobbyists should strive for win–win-solutions. Similar suggestions are found in many of the practical handbooks, and the attempts to develop ethical standards for lobbyism (Brooke Hamilton III & Hoch, 1997; Mack, 2005; McGrath, 2007)

In this paper, however, the “theory of practice” (Bourdieu, 1990) will be used to locate lobbying within society not as a practice to dissolve conflict, but as a way of furthering particular interests. A crucial component in the “theory of practice” is the concept of field. The actors are located in a field, that is, a social space where their positions and interrelations are determined by the distribution of different kinds of resources or ‘capital.’ Organizations compete with and for some fundamental types of capital: economic capital (money, property, etc.), cultural capital (knowledge, skills, educational qualifications), symbolic capital (prestige, honor), and social capital (connections, membership in a group). There is a continuous struggle to maintain or alter the distribution or to convert the type of capital. Lobbying and public affairs is a practice that assists in this endeavor. The main point in drawing on this perspective is that it presents a realistic perspective on lobbying, going beyond the more idealistic stakeholder models (Ihlen & Berntzen, 2007). Using this approach, empirical lobbying cases will be discussed focusing in particular on attempts to argue for “the best of society as a whole”. The democratic implications of this typical lobbying strategy are discussed.

Ihlen, Ø., & Raknes, K. (2016, June). Framing «the common good»: Professional lobbying in the media spotlight. Paper presented at a preconference to the 66th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Fukuoka, Japan.

Felles abstract for hele konferansen, med tittelen : Powers of Promotion: Apprehending the Social and Political Impacts of Promotional Culture:

This preconference examines the growing social and political importance of promotional activities and public relations. For decades, promotional activities have enjoyed a prominent role in societies as tools to foster the aims of various societal agencies, be they corporations, political actors, public institutions, NGOs or citizen movements. In today’s turbulent political and media environments, promotional practices have become more inventive, coordinated, and ubiquitous, crossing transnational borders and circulating across business, politics and social institutions. Promotional practices encompass a wide range of different disciplines, from advertising and branding to digital marketing and event management. Public relations is an essential tool in the promotional mix, and is increasingly used as a stand-alone strategy for organisations of all kinds to manage their visibility, legitimacy and relationships with stakeholders. At the same time, audiences are more PR-savvy than they used to be: they ‘read’ promotional texts actively and critically, and engage in promotion themselves. Communications media and other media technologies are also instrumental to the expanded spectrum of possibilities for promotional action. The “abundance, ubiquity, reach and celerity” (Blumler 2013) of modern communications practices, technologies and forms of participation – and particularly the advent of interactive, networked digital media – have permanently transformed what it means to be politically and socially engaged. Contests for power, influence and legitimacy among stakeholders are therefore more complex and take place on many fronts. However, the influence and power of PR in the context of an increasingly promotional culture is under-researched. The preconference addresses this gap, focusing on the societal and political significance of promotional activities and PR in particular, as used both alongside, and independently of, other promotional techniques.

Thorbjørnsrud, K & T. U. Figenschou (2016, Japan) Storytime: Theorizing bureaucratic autonomy in the time of personalized media. Paper presented at the panel: Mediatization, Autonomy and public sector organizations, the 66th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Fukuoka, Japan.


A key premise in field – and institutional theory (e.g. Benson, 2006, DiMaggio. & Powell, 1983) is that modern society is composed of specialized spheres with a certain autonomy due to their specific resources/capital and norms/logic. The more these spheres are influenced by the logic of other fields, the more heteronomous they become. Building on this basic theoretical premise, the present paper theorizes how the intrinsic, constitutional standards of a bureaucratic logic are affected by mediatization in contemporary, hybrid media landscapes (Chadwick, 2014). The generic bureaucratic logic is built on abstract reasoning; rule based decisions; deduction from the general to the particular and a professional language characterized by formal neutrality, distance and precision. The bureaucratic logic is increasingly challenged by a new type of hybrid media logic, in both legacy media and networked media, characterized by formats, language, images and story lines that foreground compelling individual stories, based on emotional, intuitive and subjective argument and clear-cut morality. This focus on the individual case in the media is not new, it is indeed thoroughly described in media logic theory. This paper argues that that the impact of these of storylines has intensified both in scope and depth in tandem with new types of media platforms and actors. The well-known critique of event-oriented and individualized episodic news (Iyengar 1991) receives new relevance when, in line with mediatization theory, other key societal institutions and organizations adopt an individualized case-based argumentation (Figenschou, Thorbjørnsrud & Larsen, 2015). The paper holds that this type of media logic, promoted in the media by various strategic stakeholders, represent a force that work against specialization of different fields of society in general and that it breaks with the abstract, complex and impersonal thinking of bureaucracy in particular. The human interest narrative increase the attribution of responsibility to the authorities (Boukes et al 2015), which may represent a potential redistribution of communicative power from authorities and experts to lay persons and more fluid networks and groups. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the public health and immigration administration, it first theorizes how the impact of human interest stories cut across concrete level and type of public bureaucratic organization. Second, it hypothesizes that public organizations in sectors with heavy media attention, strong interest groups and issues of broad popular appeal, will be more susceptible to the influence of a human interest logic than public bureaucracies with a more secluded position.



POLKOM-mandag: Practice makes perfect

POLKOM-mandag: Practice makes perfect