Media, Communication and Sport Section - Call for Proposals 2021

The Media, Communication and Sport (MCS) 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 Media, Communication and Sport section has traditionally been a platform for inter/trans/multi-disciplinary inspired work and we encourage such papers and multi-paper sessions again. We invite submissions of individual research papers and multi-paper sessions. We welcome submissions from all theoretical and methodological perspectives. 

In 2021, we particularly welcome contributions that bridge the study of media, communication and sport and the conference’s theme “Rethinking borders and boundaries: Beyond the global/local dichotomy in communication studies”. Authors should consider any of the ideas listed below as relevant to the Media, Communication and Sport section. This list does not exhaust the potential categories of submissions. Some of the topics that may be addressed are:

  • Diversity, inclusiveness and respect in sports communication: Gender, media and sport, Sporting masculinities/femininities, Race and ethnicity portrayals in media, Minority sports, Disability sport, Sexual diversity, Sport and social inclusion
  • Sporting mega-events: politics, representation and consumption
  • Media, sport and cultural citizenship
  • New trends and challenges in the global sport media ecosystem 
  • Evolution of the sports media rights market in the age of media portals
  • The role of emerging technologies in sport communication: digital and mobile media, eSports, virtual reality and beyond
  • Social networking sites and their use by athletes, fans, media and professional sports organizations
  • Ethics and accountability in sports journalism
  • Crisis communication and image repair in sport
  • Horizons for club-owned media
  • Sport and the environment, sustainability and sporting legacies

All papers, from the full range of perspectives on the study of Media, Communication and Sport will be considered.

Guidelines for abstracts

Abstracts submitted to the Media, Communication and Sport section should have between 300 and 500 words and must be submitted online via IAMCR's online submission platform. Abstracts submitted by email 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 Media, Communication and Sport 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.

Submitted abstracts will generally be evaluated on the basis of: 

  1. Theoretical contribution
  2. Methods
  3. Quality of writing
  4. Literature review
  5. Relevance of the proposal to the work of the Media, Communication and Sport section
  6. Originality and/or significance


The Media, Communication and Sport section can only accept abstracts in English.

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 Media, Communication and Sport section, its themes, submissions, and multi-paper sessions please contact the co-chairs of the section:

Alina Bernstein, PhD
School of media studies, College of management academic studies (COMAS)
The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University, Israel
alinabernstein [at]

Xavier Ramon, PhD
Department of Communication, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain
xavier.ramon [at]