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The International Network for Visual Studies in Organization brings together researchers, practitioners and artists exploring the visual dimensions of business, management and organizational life. We hope these pages will become a rich source of visual and image-based scholarly material as well as the hub of a thriving, global research and teaching community. See below or select a category for latest news...

Call For Papers: Studying Selfies: Evidence, Affect, Ethics, and the Internet’s Visual Turn

April 16th, 2014

Studying Selfies: Evidence, Affect, Ethics, and the Internet’s Visual Turn
A special section of the International Journal of Communication (IJoC)

Guest-edited by:

Dr. Theresa Senft
Master Teacher in Global Liberal Studies
New York University

Dr. Nancy Baym
Principal Researcher
Microsoft Research

Reposted frrom: http://socialmediacollective.org/2014/04/15/call-for-papers-studying-selfies-evidence-affect-ethics-and-the-internets-visual-turn/


The fact that “selfie” was Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2013 indicates that the selfie is a topic of popular interest. Yet for scholars, the selfie phenomenon represents a paradox. As an object, the selfie lends itself to cultural scorn and shaming. As a cultural practice, however, selfie circulation grows by the moment, moving far beyond the clichéd province of bored teenagers online. The rapid spread of camera-enabled mobile phones worldwide means that selfies have become a global phenomenon. Yet dominant discourses about what selfies are, and what they mean, tend to be extremely U.S. focused.

In this special section, we aim to provide international perspectives on selfies.  As an act of production, we are interested in why selfie-making lends itself to discussions featuring words like “narcissistic” or “empowering.” As a media genre, we are interested in the relationship of the selfie to documentary, autobiography, advertising, and celebrity. As a cultural signifier, we ask:  What social work does a selfie do in communities where it was intended to circulate, and what happens when it circulates beyond those communities?

As an emblematic part of the social media’s increased “visual turn,” selfies provide opportunities for scholars to develop best practices for interpreting images online in rigorous ways. Case studies of selfie production, consumption and circulation can also provide much needed insight into the social dynamics at play on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, WeChat and Tumblr.

We are seeking scholarly articles from diverse fields, and a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, including: media studies, communication, anthropology, digital humanities, computational and social sciences, cultural geography, history, and critical cultural studies.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Selfie as discourse: What is the history (or histories) of the selfie? How do these histories map to contemporary media and scholarly discourses regarding self-representation, autobiography, photography, amateurism, branding, and/or celebrity?

Selfie as evidence: What are the epistemological ramifications of the selfie? How do selfies function as evidence that one attended an event, feels intimate with a partner, was battered in a parking lot, is willing to be “authentic” with fans, or claims particular standing in a social or political community? One uploaded, how do selfies become evidence of a different sort, subject to possibilities like “revenge porn,” data mining, or state surveillance?

Selfie as affect: What feelings do selfies elicit for those who produce, view, and/or circulate them? What are we to make of controversial genres like infant selfies, soldier selfies, selfies with homeless people, or selfies at funerals? How do these discourses about controversial selfies map to larger conversations about “audience numbness” and “empathy deficit” in media?

Selfie as ethics: Who practices “empowering” selfie generation? Who does not? Who cannot? How do these questions map to larger issues of class, race, gender, sexuality, religion and geography? What responsibilities do those who circulate selfies of others have toward the original creator of the photo? What is the relationship between selfies and other forms of documentary photography, with regard to ethics?

Selfie as pedagogy: How can selfies be used as case studies to better understand the visual turn in social media use? How do selfies “speak,” and what methods might we develop to better understand what is being said?

Formatting and Requirements

To be considered for this collection, a paper of maximum 5,000 words (including images with captions, footnotes, references and appendices, if any) must be submitted by June 15, 2014. All submissions should be accompanied by two to three suggested reviewers including their e-mail addresses, titles, affiliations and research interests. Submissions will fall under the category of “Features” which are typically shorter than full research articles.

All submissions must adhere strictly to the most recent version of the APA styleguide (including in-text citations and references).  Papers must include the author(s) name, title, affiliation and e-mail address. Any papers that do not follow these guidelines will not be submitted for peer review.

The International Journal of Communication is an open access journal (ijoc.org). All articles will be available online at the point of publication. The anticipated publication timeframe for this special section is March 2015.

Contact Information

All submissions should be emailed to ijocselfieissue@outlook.com by June 15, 2014. Late submissions will not be included for consideration.

Visual Methodologies – call for papers, special issues, regional editors

April 16th, 2014

Visual Methodologies welcomes high quality theoretical and empirical
research papers, review papers, photo essays, book reviews.

I would also like to hear from you if you would like to serve as a guest editor for one of our special issues, or serve as a resource editor for VM.

I am also keen to appoint a North American and Asia-Pacific regional editor for the journal.

Thank you for your continued support of VM
William G. Feighery
Visual Methodologies

Consumption Markets & Culture Best Paper awards 2013

April 8th, 2014

Consumption Markets & Culture is pleased to announce its Best Paper award for articles published in 2013. They will be available free, for a limited time, on the journal’s website: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/gcmc20/current

Hélène de Burgh-Woodman & Dylan King (2013) Sustainability and the human/nature connection: a critical discourse analysis of being “symbolically” sustainable, Consumption Markets & Culture, 16:2, 145-168.


Environmental sustainability as a social and marketing discourse has gathered momentum since the 1990s, forcing companies and consumers to consider how to apprehend this shift. However, this has proved to be challenging, given that sustainability itself remains a fuzzy concept. This paper argues that this fuzziness resides in the impetus for sustainability itself, suggesting that our concern for the environment is driven by an existing, historically embedded sense of human/nature connection rather than a concern for future decimation as typically thought. This paper performs a critical discourse analysis of Toyota’s hybrid car website, showing how their discourses of human/nature connectedness and technological innovation draw from, and build, their participation in the sustainability conversation. It is argued here that Toyota’s technology/ethical consumption discourse constructions are underpinned by the mobilisation of a “human/nature connection” that offers explanatory purpose as to why we should care about sustainability in the first place. The discourse analysis offers details on how Toyota has created an evocative campaign that tacitly connects with the broader social concern for sustainability while eliding the complications of its own position in this concern. The paper concludes that Toyota’s marketing campaign provides an example of how the human/nature connection underpins or provides motivation for sustainability but also works to obfuscate sustainability as actionable agenda as a result.

We also awarded two Honorable Mentions:

Aliakbar Jafari & Christina Goulding (2013) Globalization, reflexivity, and the project of the self: a virtual intercultural learning process, Consumption Markets & Culture, 16:1, 65-90.


In this paper, the authors examine the consumption practices of young adult Iranians in the context of cultural globalization. Based on the analysis of qualitative data collected through participatory observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups with 28 individuals in Tehran and Karaj, the authors demonstrate how, through its cultural flow (circulation of images, signs, products, etc.) globalization stimulates reflexivity in “an ongoing process of virtual intercultural learning” through which people reconstitute their lives and change their everyday consumption practices and lifestyle choices. The key contribution of the study lies in the fact that it examines consumers’ subjective consumption experiences in a society where the traditional/institutional dynamics enforce their own values and ideal lifestyles on individuals.

Sofie Møller Bjerrisgaard, Dannie Kjeldgaard & Anders Bengtsson (2013) Consumer–brand assemblages in advertising: an analysis of skin, identity, and tattoos in ads, Consumption Markets & Culture, 16:3, 223-239.


This paper discusses how the use of tattoos in advertising renders diverse brand–consumer assemblages visible. In considering advertising practitioners as professionals of entanglement, the paper emphasizes the embeddedness of practitioners’ use of tattoo symbolism in institutionalized marketing systems and in the cultural history of tattooing. In accordance with the recent emphasis on the importance of material devices for understanding contemporary sociality, this paper presents a semiotic analysis of a convenience sample of advertisements depicting tattoos. Tattoos are productive for the study of brand–consumer assemblages because they are situated on the human skin, which is a mediator between the individual and the socio-material world. Furthermore, tattoos reproduce discourses of both mainstream fashion and deviant subcultural identification, which imbue tattoo symbolism with communicative potency. This analysis demonstrates how the emergence of brand tattoos in advertising challenges the dominant consumer centrism in consumer research and suggests a networked, emerging understanding of the subject in which agency is distributed in socio-technical assemblages.

Russell Belk, Schulich School of Business, Canada, Laurie Meamber, George Mason University, USA, and Stephanie O’Donohoe, University of Edinburgh, UK served as judges for this award.

Jonathan Schroeder, Editor-in-Chief, Consumption Markets & Culture

The Semiotic Society of America 39th Annual Meeting October 2–5, 2014 Seattle, Washington

March 30th, 2014


DEADLINE for Abstract and Proposal Submissions: May 16, 2014

Paradoxes of Life*
Challenge – Determination – Resilience

Ever since the paradoxes of Zeno (on the impossibility of motion) and Heraclitus (on the possibility of ever-present change)—through the work of Baudrillard, Eco, Escher, Hegel, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Peirce, Picasso, Russell, Whitehead, and others—philosophers, scholars, and artists have been exploring the phenomenological nature of paradoxes. Contemporary societies seem to be especially challenged by paradoxes in all aspects of life. And yet, antinomies in life are not fortuitous, nor do they result from incompetence. They are inherent in the human condition and innate forces in cultural and natural systems.

The irony is that when societies face crises, there is a tendency to confuse paradoxical situations with problems. This habitual tendency seems to be generated by intolerance for those ambiguities and uncertainties that are unavoidable features of paradoxes. But whenever paradoxes are perceived as problems, they can never be solved or dissolved. Rather, sooner or later, apparent solutions are discovered to be illusions, leading to ever-more-tangled problems. Thus, it is important to be aware of the difference between what we perceive as problems and what we experience as paradoxes.

Paradoxes present contradictions between irresolvably opposing aspects of life. But life feeds on these contradictory relations, and the evolution of life itself is paradoxical. Because we are born into a world of paradoxes, we are compelled to learn how to survive, to persevere, and to thrive in a reality that is constantly in a state of disequilibrium. Although we are challenged by the tension among various opposing forces, the resulting paradoxes can offer unique opportunities for engaging in crucial meaning-making processes. However, the manner in which we deal with the paradoxes of life is contingent upon our personal capacity for meeting challenges with determination and resilience. Indeed, how we deal with paradoxes can give us insight into the nature of complex semiotic processes. We invite you to consider this theme when planning your contribution to the annual meeting. A list of possible topics (in no way exhaustive) follows:

- The Structure of Paradox
- The Paradox of Teleology and Absurdism
- The Paradox of Continuity and Discontinuity
- The Paradox of Stability and Change
- The Paradox of Determinism and Free Will
- The Paradox of the Absolute and the Contingent
- The Life and Death Paradox
- The Paradox of the Whole and the Part
- Paradoxes of Self and Others
- Paradoxes of War and Peace
- The Semiotic Paradox of the Lie and the Truth
- Transmodernity and Paradoxes
- The Paradox of Language
- The Paradox of Troping
- The Paradox of Beauty and the Grotesque
- Religious Paradoxes
- Gender Paradoxes
- Paradoxes of Love
- Paradoxes of Communication
- Paradoxes of Space and Time
- The Paradox of the Real and the Imaginary
- The Paradox of Comedy and Tragedy
- Paradoxes of the Digital Age
- Finite and Infinite Paradoxes

*”Paradoxes of Life” is a non-restrictive theme of the 39th Annual Meeting. Any topic related to semiotics can be submitted as a paper, a panel, or a poster.

Submission of Abstracts and Proposals

Please visit http://semioticsocietyofamerica.org/index.php/ssa-meetings to submit your abstract or proposal for poster presentation. The deadline for submission is May 16, 2014. Please include the following information in your submission:

1. Author’s Name(s)
2. Institutional Affiliation and Academic Status
3. Email Address
4. Title of the Abstract
5. 150- to 200-Word Abstract (in Times New Roman 12)
6. Keywords (maximum 6 words)

Abstracts for individual papers or panels and organized sessions (3-4 papers) as well as poster presentations must include all of the above information. Papers are for a 20-minute presentation. Early submission of abstracts and proposals is highly recommended. An acknowledgement of receipt of your abstract will be sent to you within two weeks from the date of receiving your submission. Electronic letters of acceptance will be sent to the selected participants by June 30, 2014.

Papers presented at the meeting will also be considered for publication in Semiotics 2014, the Yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America (SSA). The SSA Yearbook is an annual peer-reviewed publication series sponsored by the Semiotic Society of America, providing both a timely overview of current developments in semiotic research and a regular outlet for members of the society to publish papers on their current work. Further details and deadlines will be specified in the Annual Meeting Program.

Student submissions are eligible for the Roberta Kevelson Award, which will honor the best student paper presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting. Students who wish to be considered for the Kevelson Award should indicate their interest in their abstract submissions, and submit their full papers to Prof. Farouk Y. Seif at fseif@antioch.edu<mailto:fseif@antioch.edu> by September 2, 2014.

Special Events

*** Pre-Conference Marketplace of Semiotics: This year’s Annual Meeting will use the innovative, self-organizing process known as Open Space Technology to energize and engage participants in stimulating seminars/workshops. The process will generate a “Marketplace of Semiotics” that contains diverse sessions. These sessions will form 5–8 distinctive seminars/workshops for students and scholars new to semiotics, but also of interest to experienced scholars. The Marketplace of Semiotics will include lunch and will commence with an exceptional keynote speaker; thereafter, experienced facilitators will conduct these self-generated seminars/workshops. More information and further details will be provided in the Program.

*** Poster Presentations: Poster presentations will be peer reviewed. Poster sizes should not exceed 3×3 feet in dimension and be done on matte finish or coated paper. Posters are intended to highlight best practices and research projects. Submission of poster proposals should include 150–200 words of brief description and a PDF of the actual poster. Presenters should make sure their final printed posters are received by the SSA Registration Desk at the Westin Seattle Hotel no later than 12:00 noon on October 1, 2014. All posters will be on display in a gallery throughout the duration of the annual meeting.

Conference Venue

Seattle, also known as the “Emerald City,” is the host city for the 39th SSA Annual Meeting. Seattle is one of the most beautiful and fastest-growing cities of North America. It was named after the prominent Native American figure Chief “Seathle,” who creatively dealt with the paradox of accommodating white settlers with Native Americans through a robust call for ecological responsibility. The Seattle metropolitan area is the home of leading companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks.

The Annual Meeting will take place at The Westin Seattle Hotel in the heart of downtown. The Westin Hotel has exceptional amenities and is within walking distance of the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Symphony (Benaroya Hall), Pike Place Market, and the beautiful waterfront.

To make your room reservations, please visit https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/2014SemioticSociety or call +01-888-627-8513. We encourage you to make your reservation by August 22, 2014. After this date, it will be at the Westin’s discretion whether to accept reservations, which will be subject to prevailing rates and availability. The single or double room SSA special rate is $195.00 per night, including complimentary guest-room wireless Internet access.

Registration and Fees

Please note that, according to the SSA Constitution, “Only Individual, Student, and Honorary members in good standing may offer papers to the Program Committee for oral presentation at meetings of the Society” (Article 4, Section 4). Membership must be in good standing at or before the time of abstract submission.

Registration Fees:
- SSA Membership Dues (Regular) — $50.00
- SSA Membership Dues (Student) — $30.00
- Conference Registration Fee (Regular) — $150.00 (late registration $175.00 after August 17, 2014)?
- Conference Registration Fee (Student) — $70.00 (late registration $85.00 after August 17, 2014)
- Pre-Conference Seminars/Workshops Fee — $30.00 (access to all seminars/workshops)

Meals Fee (includes the following) — $100.00
• Breakfast (3 days)
• Lunch (3 days)
• All-day Beverage Service (3 days)
• Plated Dinner (1 night)
• Welcome Reception with hors d’oeuvres and wine/beer/sodas

How to Register:

Please visit http://www.pdcnet.org/wp/services/2014-ssa-conference/ or call: +01-434-220-3300 or the toll free number 1-800-444-2419<tel:1-800-444-2419> (U.S. & Canada).

More information will become available over the coming months at www.semioticsocietyofamerica.org<http://www.semioticsocietyofamerica.org/>.

We look forward to welcoming you in Seattle!

The 2014 Program Committee

Farouk Y. Seif, Chair and Organizer; Professor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle
Robert S. Hatten, Professor, The University of Texas
Prisca Augustyn, Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University
Karen Haworth, Office Administrator, University of West Florida
Gilad Elbom, Instructor, Oregon State University
Linda V. Nurra, Independent Scholar, Santa Barbara, California
Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D. Student, Harvard University
Adam A. Ferguson, Ph.D. Student, Binghamton University

2nd International Colloquium on Design, Branding and Marketing, Nottingham Trent University, 9-10 December 2014

March 4th, 2014

Relationship between Marketing and Design: Research, Practice and Education

The relationship between marketing and design has a long heritage. This has been evident in the development of branding and identity, promotion, product development, retail design and currently online and multimedia consumer engagement. Over time the engagement with branding, corporate and service design has become more significant, with product, graphic and interior design spanning many facets of private and public sector marketing management. Less tangibly, creative approaches to marketing problems are demanded and more evident in an increasingly competitive and unpredictable environment. In terms of research methodologies and methods, both marketing and design have distinctive but often complementary approaches that merit further development.

This colloquium will examine current issues concerning the interface between marketing and design, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary connections between research, practice and teaching, exploring the use of research and practice to inform the content of marketing and design curricula. How does creative thinking and practice influence marketing, research and the curriculum? Is design used to maximum effect in marketing practice and theory? How are design management strategies successfully adopted and incorporated into marketing and design curricula? To what extent are visual images understood in local and global communities? How do mobile marketing and e-marketing solutions contribute?

The event is co-hosted by Middlesex University, The University of Lincoln, Nottingham Trent University and Bournemouth University. This 2nd International Colloquium on the theme of Design, Branding and Marketing will be held on 9th and 10th December 2014, featuring presentations by leading academics and practitioners in this field at Nottingham Trent University’s city campus. This will build on the success of the 1st International Colloquium on Global Design and Marketing, which was held at the University of Lincoln in 2011. Nottingham Trent University’s Business School is based in the recently redesigned Newton Building, situated in the centre of the historic city of Nottingham, within walking distance of the city’s famous castle, the new Nottingham Contemporary Arts Centre and Paul Smith’s flagship store and a short drive from Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre. Nottingham is easily accessible internationally via East Midlands Airport, which is half-an-hour away by taxi, or a train journey of less than two hours from the major UK cities of London, Manchester and Birmingham. Delegates can take advantage of discounted rates at local hotels for this event.

The two-day colloquium will bring together practitioner and scholarly experts in the area of design and marketing to share their knowledge and experiences with fellow academics and practitioners. Scholarly, conceptual, empirical and practitioner papers are welcomed, especially those that address the colloquium theme of integrating research, practice and teaching. Papers may address issues including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • brand management, identity, and co-creation
  • corporate identity, image and reputation
  • collaboration between marketers and designers
  • graphic design
  • visual identity
  • advertising
  • packaging design
  • sustainable marketing and design
  • marketing communications
  • interior and spatial design
  • information environments
  • organisational identity and image
  • viral marketing
  • e-commerce and online marketing
  • design for interaction and moving images
  • digital media design
  • product design
  • visual research methodologies
  • symbols, signs and consumption
  • semiotics
  • aesthetics and their application to marketing
  • design practice based research, and its implications for marketing
  • other design/marketing topics.

Abstract deadline: June 30th 2014

Extended abstracts of between 1,000 to 1,500 words (with up to six keywords) will be subjected to a double-blind peer review process and published in the Colloquium proceedings.Prospective contributors with queries concerning the potential suitability of topics or other matters concerning contributions are invited to contact the Colloquium Chair and Director, Professor T.C. Melewar.

Colloquium Chair and Director:

Professor T.C. Melewar (Middlesex University)
Email: t.c.melewar@mdx.ac.uk

Associate Directors:

Professor Charles Dennis (The University of Lincoln)
E-mail: cdennis@lincoln.ac.uk
Professor Anthony Kent (Nottingham Trent University)
Email: anthony.kent@ntu.ac.uk

Assistant directors:

Helen Goworek (Nottingham Trent University)
Email: helen.goworek@ntu.ac.uk

Charles McIntyre (Bournemouth University)
Email: cmcintyre@bournemouth.ac.uk

Please direct all abstracts (maximum 1,500 words) and queries about contributions to:

T.C. Melewar

Please direct any other enquiries about this colloquium to:

Helen Goworek

Charles McIntyre

New York Times article on corporate work environments

March 3rd, 2014