Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Managing Popular Culture: Emergence, Strategy and the Development of Popular Phenomena

Posted: August 7th, 2013 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

30 January – 1 February 2014
Karlshochschule International University, Karlsruhe

Keynote Lecture: Angela McRobbie, Goldsmiths, University of London


The 6th Annual Convention of the “Popular Culture and Media” division within the German Association for Media Studies will explore the question “How does popular culture develop?” We invite presenters from different backgrounds and disciplines to a lively discussion on the intersections of economic, cultural and social aspects that form popular phenomena.

Academic scholarship so far has often drawn a strict borderline between strategic management approaches on the one hand, and subversive approaches, which draw on the creative and uncontrollable potential of popular culture on the other. While the first idea is associated with producers’ interests to control and operate a chaotic condition, the latter is predominantly linked to aesthetic and/or socio-analytical methods that all too often leave aside the economic context of popular phenomena.

The conference Managing Popular Culture? will question and challenge schematic descriptions which play on top-down vs. bottom-up explanations by deconstructing dichotomies such as management vs. emergence or design (planning) vs. rhizomatic development. We seek to highlight the impact of commercial agents, cultural policies, the media, and social interactions for the development of popular phenomena. We strive to present analyses how these mechanisms and automatisms create trends and hypes as well as more general practices and discourses within the sphere of popular culture.

The conference is open for all kinds of work that connect the terms of ‘pop’, ‘management’ and ‘economy’ (not only in financial reference), all taken as cultural practices. Possible topics include – but are by no means limited to – papers that investigate models of popular funding such as crowdfunding, phenomena of Creative Commons or the app-culture to name but a few. Equally, we include presentations

that critically ask for ‘popular economies’ beyond the market or explore how economy itself may obtain ‘pop-status’ as we have seen with brands such as Apple, RedBull or even with top-managers from Rockefeller to Steve Jobs.


The 6th Annual Convention – “Popular Culture and Media” is an interdisciplinary conference (and thus) open for proposals from all fields of study that explore the structures, impacts and phenomena associated with popular culture. Theoretical, empirical and critical approaches are equally welcome. Applicants are not required to become a member of the Association.

We support an internationally orientated exchange and invite proposals both in English and German.
Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV (max. 150 words) to [email protected].

Deadline is 15 September 2013.


Lioba Foit (Paderborn), Christian Stiegler (Karlsruhe), Martin Zierold (Karlsruhe) [email protected], www.popkongress.de.
The conference is hosted by Karlshochschule International University in cooperation with the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg Automatismen, an interdisciplinary postgraduate program, University of Paderborn.

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