CfP: Communicating family memory: remembering in a changing media environment
Memory and media are closely interlinked areas of research: In fact, memory has always materialized through cultural artefacts, various objects and the mediation of images, words and signs. Furthermore, memory as a social construct has a strong collective dimension. Even individuals’ memories can be viewed and made sense of within the context of different collectivities and social formations such as the family, an ethnic community or a nation. Media are essential for these groups to communicate with each other and thereby constitute and negotiate identities, or make sense of the world – past, present and future included.
The proposed special issue of Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research aims to solicit articles which consider remembering and forgetting within the contexts of families. Next to the nation and ethnic communities, families are classic memory communities. Families shape the individual’s understanding of personal and collective identities and belonging, as well as notions of exclusion. Moreover, families can provide an immediate personal access to the past (through older family members and previous generations) as well as the future (children and imagined future generations).
In times of “deep mediatization”, communication within families has undergone some tremendous changes: a higher number of communication devices are in use with an increasing number of functions and media and communication devices present in most areas of everyday life. At the same time the pace of innovation is increasing – both in terms of devices and gadgets available and in terms of services and platforms on offer. Through everyday practices like texting and emailing, more and more digital traces are produced creating a sense that these activities are stored somewhere and therefore not forgotten. Meanwhile, it is also apparent that the data produced through these activities are not in one’s own hands and the people who generate them do not have complete control over them.
Simultaneously, heightened mobility (be it for work or leisure purposes), migratory experiences and flight, as well as divorces and ruptures within families provide challenges as well as perhaps new opportunities for creating family memory.
Submissions can address but are not limited to the following topics:
◊ media and memory practices in families
◊ negotiating memory through communication practices and media use
◊ the family as a memory community in the context of or in relation to other memory communities
◊ communicative practices and remembering in different types of families (single-parent, LGBT parents, mixed-race families, multi-generational families, foster families)
◊ representation of family memory in media texts, exhibitions, museums
◊ families as (dys-)functional memory communities
◊ critical approaches that question/further develop the concept of family and family memory
◊ theorizing mediated family memory
◊ communication and family memory in times of crises, migration and flight
◊ media, memory, mnemonic practices of transnational families
◊ the significance of objects and mediated memories for families
◊ forgetting in families in times of deep mediatization
◊ power relations/struggles concerning memory and communication matters within families
◊ methodological questions and reflections concerning researching family communication and family memory
◊ situating communicative practices and family memory in the context of mass communication
Formal requirements and time line
For this special issue Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research accepts full articles (manuscripts of up to 8,000 words with present original work) and research in brief (manuscripts of up to 4,000 words). For further details see
In a first step, please submit an extended abstract of about (600 – 800 words), indicating if you would like to submit a full article or a manuscript for research in brief. In addition, please provide a short biographical note (of no more than 150 words) of contributing authors. A selection of the abstracts received will be invited to provide full submissions. These will be peer-reviewed (double-blinded).
Suggestions for the book review section are also welcome.
Deadline for abstract submission: 30 August 2016
Notification: 15 September 2016
Deadline for submission of full manuscripts: 15 December 2016
Final deadline for revisions: 30 April 2017