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Call for abstracts: Epistemic Challenges and Democratic Accountability in European Media

The transformative changes in communication infrastructures intersecting with multiple social, political, and ecological crises put societies to the test. Today, a handful of multinational platform corporations dominate global markets in social media, cloud infrastructure, digital search, digital advertising, mobile operations, and digital messaging. Opaque algorithms exacerbate the problem of epistemic injustice and increase social distrust. How democracies and welfare states respond to the challenges depends on their epistemic capacity: citizens’ ability to access reliable information and their right to participate in knowledge production and be recognized in public discussion. It also refers to the epistemic authority and accountability of key democratic institutions and their ability to provide legitimate, shared knowledge that serves decision-making and supports policy choices. This demands new insights on how datafied media systems and infrastructures intersect with existing societal and epistemic risks and vulnerabilities, and what are the options and obstacles for effective policy.

Epistemic Challenges and Democratic Accountability in European Media brings together an interdisciplinary community of scholars and experts to take stock of the current challenges. Two intensive days of invited lectures, paper sessions, and panel discussions zoom in on the new conditions of knowledge production, the responsibility of digital platforms, and the intersection of inequalities and technologies in a datafied and polarized communication landscape. How can employing the notion of the epistemic help us understand and mitigate harms and support epistemic justice and agency?

We welcome abstract submissions related to the following three themes:

Knowledge production, equality, and digital technologies [E.g., Epistemic rights and agency; Professional journalism and other epistemic authorities in datafied, algorithmic infrastructures; Changing networked knowledge from search engines to language models]

Digital platforms, accountability, and societal crises [E.g., Digital platforms and inequalities; Digital technologies and environmental sustainability; Platform regulation and policies in Europe]

Democracy and artificial intelligence technologies [E.g., Public response to AI; Algorithms, political communication, and epistemic harms; European and global governance of AI; Epistemic infrastructures and methodological innovations]

Confirmed speakers include: Hilde van den Bulck, Adrienne Russell, Mike Ananny, Eugenia Siapera, and Tarlach McGonagle.

Important days and information

The deadline for submissions of abstracts (max 400 words): April 12, 2024
Contact and abstract submission: Veera Koskinen,
Notification of acceptance:  May 13, 2024
The entire programme will be released on June 7, 2024.
Registration Fees: 40 € per attendee (includes lunch and coffee)

Visit conference webpage for more information!


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