International Communication Section - Call for Proposals 2021

The International Communication (INC) section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites the submission of proposals for single papers and multi-paper sessions (the online conference equivalent of a panel in a face to face conference) for IAMCR 2021, which will be held online from 11 to 15 July, 2021. The conference will also have a regional hub in Nairobi, Kenya. Both the online conference and the regional hub will be hosted by the Department of Journalism & Corporate Communication of United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi. The deadline for submission is 9 February 2021, at 23.59 UTC.

See the IAMCR 2021 general call for proposals


IAMCR conferences address a wide diversity of themes defined by our 33 thematic sections and working groups. We also propose a single central theme to be explored throughout the conference with the aim of generating and exploring multiple perspectives. This theme is addressed in plenary and special sessions, and in some sessions of the sections and working groups. Not all submissions have to address this central theme. 

The central theme for IAMCR 2021, Rethinking borders and boundaries: Beyond the global/local dichotomy in communication studies, is concerned with how changes in communication theory and practice are challenging our understanding of global and local, creating new identities and discourses, and enabling a hybrid glocalisation, with both positive and negative consequences. 

Five sub-themes of this central theme have been identified: The rebirth of populist discourses; Activism and the new global social justice movements; Trends in global media ecosystems; Identity: Gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality; and Communication for development in health, climate change and education. See the complete theme description and rationale here.

Conference model: Online with an African "hub" and global satellite activities

In alignment with the possibilities offered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the conference’s main theme, Rethinking Borders and Boundaries, IAMCR 2021’s conference will offer multiple modalities for participation. It will be primarily an online conference but will also have an African “hub” at USIU-Africa, and satellite activities at various points around the globe.The various components of the conference include:

1. Online Conference Papers – Abstracts submitted in response to the section and working groups CfPs will be reviewed by the sections and working groups and accepted authors will be invited to submit short conference papers (1,000 to 4,000 words). These papers will be grouped into sessions and published on the conference website prior to the conference on a platform that will enable discussion the conference.

2. Section and Working Group Online Sessions – IAMCR sections and working groups will curate a number of video sessions highlighting key issues within their thematic areas of specialisation.

3. Flow34 – A stream featuring videos that integrate academic and aesthetic narratives. Proposals for this component will be reviewed by the Flow34 team. Topics can originate from the entire field of Communication and Media Studies. The selected videos will be scheduled and presented on the conference platform.

4. Plenary Sessions – Several plenary sessions streamed from the conference hub at USIU-Africa will feature contributions from around the globe. 

5. Special and Partner Sessions – These video sessions will be produced by IAMCR and its partners. 

6. Nairobi Hub – In addition to being at the centre of the global online activities, the conference hub, at USIU-Africa, will host a regional face-to-face event (in accordance with the possibilities afforded by the pandemic). The regional event will interact with the global at several moments of the conference. 

7. Other Regional/National Hubs – We are currently considering the involvement of other regional and national hubs and will be accepting requests from IAMCR members interested in sponsoring them. 

This call for proposals is for the Online Conference Papers.

IAMCR members will have full access to all online components.

The global/local apparent dichotomy has sharpened the debate on the convenience of global-specific and local-specific approaches to communication studies. As the demand for both global and local specific approaches in scholarly research is increasing due to awareness of their equal importance, the trend is to universalize their inclusion. Unfortunately, the countermovement between scholars’ dichotomous positions continues to reflect the limitation and ‘myopia’ of some traditional views, which mirror a full embracing of the global practices on one side and a blind acceptance of local elements on the other. Hence, how to balance both perspectives in scholarly research will be the key in order to develop a sound state of an unlimited and inclusive knowledge-seeking and knowledge-making technique in the near future.

With this priority in mind, the International Communication section encourages all interested scholars from all around the world to present their research work at this year’s conference web site. As a reminder, we request authors to submit proposals related to the conference’s central theme, Rethinking borders and boundaries: beyond the global/local dichotomy in communication studies.  In our Section we include a wide range of contributions, from the merely theoretical to the methodological and/or empirical analysis.

The International Communication section aims to provide a space for multi-disciplinary researchers to discuss questions around transformation of culture, politics and communication in new media, territories and discourses. Possible themes may also include:

  • The transformation in culture and politics and their influence on media and their respective societies;
  • Fake news in the media and how these can have a negative impact in different societies and in international communication/relations, too;
  • The evolution of discourses in different media due to global and local transformations;
  • Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and the ways in which they are evolving due to global and local media transformations;
  • The ethical challenges of global and local media and communication. Are they inclusive and compatible or are they lacking something else?
  • The political role in transformations affecting global and local media;
  • International studies regarding the global and local approaches of the media are also encouraged.
  • Also, those changes that go beyond the global/local dichotomy in international communication/media driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences.

Guidelines for abstracts

Abstracts submitted to the International Communication section should have between 350 and 500 words and must be submitted online via IAMCR's online submission platform. Abstracts submitted by email to any of the section’s Heads will not be accepted. 

It is expected that authors will submit only one (1) abstract. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same author, either individually or as first author. No more than one (1) abstract can be submitted by an author to the International Communication section. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to more than one section or working group. Any such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected.

Proposals are accepted for both single papers and multi-paper sessions (the online conference equivalent of a panel in a face to face conference). Please note that there are special procedures for submitting multi-paper sessions. You can find the detailed procedures when submitting your abstract online in the abstract submission system.

If your abstract is accepted, you will need to submit your full conference paper (1,000 to 4,000 words) by 7 June 2021, in order to be included in the programme.


The International Communication section is happy to welcome submissions for papers and/or multi-paper sessions in any of the three official IAMCR languages: Spanish, English, and French.

The deadline to submit abstracts is 9 February 2021 at 23h59 UTC.

See important dates and deadlines to keep in mind

For further information about the conference contact nairobi2021 [at]

For further information about the International Communication section, its themes, submissions and multi-paper sessions please contact: Karen Arriaza Ibarra, Section Chair, arriazaibarra [at]; Deqiang Ji, Section Vice chair, JiDeqiang [at]; Kateryna Kasianenko, Section Vice chair, kkasianenko [at]