Event details

MEA @ ICA 2021

  • 27 May 2021
  • (EDT)
  • 31 May 2021
  • (EDT)
  • Virtual

The MEA continues to be an affiliate organization/associate member of the International Communication Association.

This year’s ICA conference was supposed to be held in Denver, CO, USA from May 27–31. Due to the ongoing pandemic, however, it was converted to a fully virtual conference.

For details, visit https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA2021.

The MEA is sponsoring the following panel:

“Engaging the Essential Work of Media Ecology in Care and Caring”

Michael Grabowski, Manhattan College


Jeff Bogaczyk, Independent Scholar
“Care in the Technological Society: An Ellulian Perspective”

One of the issues most prevalent in our current culture relates to how human beings, in an increasingly divisive and partisan environment, treat one another in interpersonal relationships. In this historical moment defined by extreme division and contention, this paper examines the idea of interpersonal care within the current technological society from the perspective of French sociologist Jacques Ellul. Ellul’s critique of La Technique provides insight for understanding the context around interpersonal care and how it has been informed by the technological society. He also provides perspective on a unique interpersonal entrance into how dialogue can serve as a bulwark against the impersonal influence of technology.

Michael Grabowski, Manhattan College
“Text as Image: Empathy and Group Identity in Virtual Environments”

The rules of engagement in social media have fostered the sharing of posts in which linguistic messages are embedded in images rather than presented as text. These posts resemble and sometimes have a similar function to the propaganda posters during World War I. This paper examines the development and role of these text/image posts, their historical antecedents and medium characteristics, and analyzes their communicative impact in the formation of group identity. The paper concludes with a model for an ethical framework in the production and dissemination of these text/images to promote empathy.

Robert MacDougall, Curry College
“Exploring ‘Epimediology’: On Human-Media-Induced Imbalance and Dis-ease”

The term “epidemiology” comes from the Greek words epi, meaning “on or upon”; demos, meaning “people”; and logos, meaning “the study of.” In other words, the word epidemiology has its roots in the study of what befalls a population (adapted from Wiki). The neologism epimediology is proposed: again, deriving from the Greek word epi, meaning on or upon; and connecting to medio [media] (see also references to membrane or what comes between); and logos, meaning the study of. In other words, epimediology has its roots in the study of how media propagate/diffuse into the world, and what befalls media and populations of media users given that propagation and diffusion (cf. Rogers, 2003). As a blend of media diffusion and media ecological outlooks, epimediology implies an empirical, evidence-based approach to the study of media innovation, adoption, diffusion, adaptation, abstention, avoidance, mediation, and remediation. Such an approach might help media designers, engineers, and everyday media users better understand extant and potential/future media with actionable guidance regarding media adoption and use and, where advisable, good reasons for non-adoption/non-use. It would track the spread of media-induced dis-ease occurring at multiple levels of reality (i.e., individual, institutional, socio-cultural, planetary). This project explores the potential contours and extent of a full-blown epimediology.

Laura Trujillo Liñán, Universidad Panamericana, Campus México
“The Rise of IT as an Effect of Care”

The year 2020 will be marked as the year in which one of the greatest pandemics in human history occurred, following the plague of the 14th century, smallpox in the 18th century, the Spanish flu at the beginning of the 20th century, and the different strains of influenza. COVID-19 arrived at a time when human beings saw themselves as totally secure with their governments and against other species, and capable of dominating the world and transforming it at will. Humans became self-absorbed and were not able to see beyond themselves. However, in addition to causing great and impending economic disaster, the pandemic has shown us that humans are able to care for others and therefore to be careful. Forced isolation is a sign of care, the protection required when leaving home is a sign of care, and the use of different information technologies is a sign of care.

Through this work I intend to show how the development of IT represents a turning point in human beings’ gaze toward their community and care for it.

Wilson Oliveira Filho, UNESA - Rio de Janeiro
“(Me)medium is the (Me)message: .Gifs Beyond Spoofs”

This paper aims, in extending McLuhan’s ideas of medium as message/massage and other explorations of the Canadian thinker and founding father of media ecology, to address questions and create tensions between the presentation of memes as merely spoofs or playful content versus thinking of .gifs (a derivative of meme) as an art form in our contemporary media culture. .Gifs can be thought as extensions of television, cinema, and even radio in a synesthetic way. They can also be understood as crono-photographies, flip books, movies, or what Tom Gunning referred to as a “cinema of attractions.” The loop element that summarizes the content of a .gif helps us to understand new media and .gifs as more than pure entertainment but as a media ecological inquiry into our ways of seeing. This paper examines this new, quick way of making such art pieces – ambients that surround different aesthetics – at the same time that it leads us to re-think the age-old question: What is an image?

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