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The future of democracy is inseparable from the capacities of media - at all scales from the local to the global. Both the sustainability and the expansion of democracy depend on what media institutions do and what spaces media make possible. The complexity of these processes requires interdisciplinary research across politics, sociology and media.

The Centre for the study of Global Media and Democracy was set up in September 2007 to address these connections. The Centre brings together researchers from Goldsmiths’ departments of Media and Communications, Sociology and Politics. It hosts public lectures and debates, research symposia, and seminar series: see Events. It plans to develop inter-disciplinary bids for research funding and welcomes research students from any discipline interested in the Centre’s themes.

The Centre builds on existing research initiatives at Goldsmiths: the Unit for Global Justice, the Spaces of the News project (funded by the Leverhulme Foundation), and the Research Unit in Governance and Democracy. Recent ESRC funded research by Centre members has investigated public connection and the construction of self through reality TV formats [PDF].

Topics explored since the Centre's inception in 2007 include:

  • Digital media and the renewal of local democracy
  • Democratic theory and the transnational public sphere
  • Global governance, the state and cultural politics
  • Global social movements, advocacy organisations and new media
  • National media and the construction of 'the citizen' and ‘the human’
  • Neoliberal discourse and the public realm
  • Media ethics

The centre is building links with similar initiatives internationally.

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Radicalism & Reform in Latin America

In recent years movements like Occupy have caught the radical imagination in Europe and the US – movements that resist neo-liberalism from outside the state, both politically and socio-economically.  A much more minor theme in the study of politics (developed especially in relation to global governance), is ‘mainstreaming’ (gender, human rights, humanitarianism), its advantages and pitfalls.  What is missing is debate on the relationship between radical, grassroots mobilisations and the possibilities of transforming access to and control over state resources of force and legitimacy. 

In this conference we focus on Latin America where the ‘pink tide’ offers many opportunities to learn about the relationship between radicalism and reform.  It is surely a mixed picture.  The way in which radical movements can be co-opted once they begin to work with state officials and politicians is a possibility that has been realised in at least some cases (the Workers’ Party in Brazil for example).  But in principle radical movements may also alter how ‘the centre’ is conceived and positioned (the Chilean students’ movement may be unfolding in this way). Social movements and their relationships to parties, NGOs and the state; the role of different forms of media in facilitating mobilisations, in acting as a ‘fourth estate’ and in changing ‘common sense’; reform of government policy; and reform of state-society relations through constitution-making and the judiciary - all these aspects of radicalism and reform will be on the agenda for this conference.  


Upcoming Events

More events coming soon, please check back regularly.

Content last modified: 14 May 2014

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