Call for Papers – Film Studies no. 14: special issue on “Institutions and Agency”

ip040img01Under the auspices of the new film history, media industry studies, the new political economy of communication and others, film and media scholars have increasingly attended to institutions. This trend agitates against the long disciplinary tradition by which media have been appreciated as the expressions of subjective visions and artistic designs. To be sure, the new institutional approaches are not without their critics, who have maligned them as inflexible, reductive and ignorant of extra-economic motivations, cultural inflections and individual decisions.

How can film and media scholarship effectively seek both macro and micro explanations and attend to both larger networks and human agency? This special issue of Film Studies (Manchester University Press), due for publication in 2016, seeks to answer this question by collecting a diverse series of case studies that illustrate such comprehensive approaches. These 6000-8000-word articles may pertain to any area of film and media studies, but should grapple with their objects of inquiry by taking account of both institutions and individual agency.

Possible topics might include (but are not limited to) case studies that reveal:

–the place of (a) film (or a genre or production trend) in relation to government bodies (e.g., the EU; the State Department; local municipalities)

–how individual directors, cinematographers, screenwriters or other film workers negotiated with companies, unions, regulation bodies, government authorities or other large organisations

–how media control, convergence or conglomeration has been inflected by individuals’ decision-making

–the role of individuals in censorship and classification decisions

–how arts journalists or film critics fit into larger media organisations and associations

–how individual cinemas, film festivals, distribution companies or other film-cultural groups deal with larger networks; how these larger networks codetermine the individuals’ everyday practices

–audience or fan studies that attend to both institutional pressures (or incentives) and individual desires and tastes

Abstracts (of less than 200 words) and a short biographical note should be sent by 1 November 2014 to Mattias Frey at M.J.Frey@kent.ac.uk. Complete manuscripts should be ready for peer review by the summer of 2015. Publication is due for summer 2016.

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