RMeS Summer School 2021: Media, Inequalities and Social Change

RMeS Summer School 2021
Media, Inequalities and Social Change
Current and Emerging approaches to Social In-/Exclusion in Media Studies

When? 21, 22 & 23 June 2021
  Erasmus University Rotterdam – Online
Organizers?  Dr. Isabel Awad and  Prof. dr. Susanne Janssen (EUR)
For? PhD Candidates and Research master students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). Students who are members of RMeS will have first access.
Confirmed keynote speakers? Dr. Gavan Titley, Dr.Saskia Witteborn, Ayham Dalal.
Lecturers? Dr. Amanda Alencar, Dr. Isabel Awad,  Dr. Jiska Engelbert, Dr. Melodine Sommier, Prof.dr. Jacco van Sterkenburg, Dr. Daniel Trottier
Registration: Register before June 1, 2021.
When registering, please specify if you intend to obtain 2 or 5 EC.

THE SUMMER SCHOOL IS FULLY BOOKEDplease send an e-mail to rmes@rug.nl with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.


In media studies—like in society at large—social in/exclusion is not a new phenomenon, but one that has gained extraordinary attention and urgency in the last years. Worldwide, we have witnessed unprecedented protests against patriarchism and racism, including the Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movements. We have seen renewed efforts to both defend and to challenge territorial borders, as well as national, ethnic, and gender identities. While Covid-19 may have reduced the visibility of some of these movements on streets and other (unmediated) public spaces, it has also underscored the social inequalities driving them. Across national contexts, the costs of the pandemic have been markedly uneven: death rates are higher among already marginalized social groups; the emotional and work load associated to lockdowns tends to be heavier on women than on men; the world’s richest individuals have become even richer, while millions of middle and working class people have lost their job and/or a significant part of their income.

The media are not only key platforms to make inequalities visible and debatable, but also –probably now more than ever—crucial institutions in the configuration and (re)distribution of power in society. Thus, for example, a protest without hashtags has become practically unconceivable, the threshold for producing and disseminating mediated-content has never been so low, and digital technologies appear to be the key to access education, housing and work. Simultaneously, however, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other digital companies accumulate unprecedented wealth and (algorithmic) tools that allow for concealed, but powerful forms of discrimination, while they dominate debates about the social divides that matter and the (digital) solutions to bridge them.

This Summer School inquires into the theoretical and methodological tools Media Studies has and needs in order to better understand and study these phenomena. The sessions will engage students into this critical reflection by focusing on different spheres of media practice and representation, as well as a wide range of social exclusions and efforts to overcome them.

Preliminary program

Each day of the Summer School has a specific focus; its sessions are structured accordingly. Day 1’s keynote and two interactive sessions offer a rather theoretical and normative approach to (practices of) representation in relation to social in-/exclusion, as well as implications for their study. In day 2 students choose between two possible workshops. In smaller groups, they will have the opportunity to gain more specific insights and some hand-on experience into two specific, highly topical areas of research into the role of media in social in/exclusion. That day’s keynote will further strengthen the links between theory and research practices. Finally, on day 3, two sessions and a keynote will focus on emerging media technologies and innovative approaches to study existing and possible relations between the digital, power inequalities and social change. Additional interactive sessions are meant to strengthen group dynamics and facilitate more informal exchanges among students and between them and lecturers.

Monday 21 June 2021

09.30-10.15: Welcome and introductions
10.30-12.00: Session IPractices and politics for the representation of inequality
12.00-13.30: Break
13.30-15.30: Session 2 – Moving away from methodological nationalism: How (not) to study cultural representations
15.30-16.00: Break
16.00-17.00: Keynote 1 Gavan Titley – The politics of representation and communicative abundance
17.00-18.00: Social event

Tuesday 22 June 2021

09.30-10.30 Keynote 2  Saskia WittebornMigration and technology research revisited: Theoretical challenges and opportunities
10.30-11.00 Break
11.00-12.30 Session 3: Workshop 3A or 3B
12.30-13.30 Break
13.30-15.00 Session 3: Workshop 3A or 3B (continued)

Wednesday 23 June 2021

10.00-11.00: Keynote 3  Ayham Dalal – Screening of the 15 min documentary “13 Square Meters” and a Q&A with the co-producer and urban studies scholar, Ayham Dalal.
11.00-11.30: Break
11.30-13.00: Session 4  – Digital vigilantism, mediated visibility and their impacts on marginalized communities
13.00-14.00: Break
14.00-15.30: Session 5 – Technologies as discourse; discourse as technologies
15.30-16.00: Break
16.00-17.00: Closing session

Please find the RMES summer school programme here.