Media Breakdown and Recovery

Organisers: Annette Hill, Hario Satrio Priambodho and Cheryl Fung

Break up, break down, and break away: variations on media and the breaking down of infrastructures, technicalities, texts, contexts and social relations are the basis of this international symposium Media, Breakdown and Recovery. This event explores how we can understand media, culture and society as a site of collapse and repair, and as a place for theoretical and empirical analysis within media, communication and cultural studies.

Breakdown signifies wearing down, collapse, and catastrophe; this meaning of breakdown relates to media technologies and services, representations and themes in factual and fictional genres, or broader issues such as a crisis of democracy, and a thin trust between politicians, the media and publics. The COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp relief media power and inequalities during the global pandemic. Breakdown also signifies taking apart something to analyse and understand how it works; this meaning of breaking down relates to deconstructing a text and its internal workings and contradictions, or forensically analysing media systems, political economics and power structures. Moments of media breakdown can reveal that which is otherwise hidden. And breakdown can be related to processes of fluidity and renewal, in the breaking down of barriers and divisions.

Originally slated for 2020 on the theme of breakdown, this international symposium returns in live and digital mixed mode to engage in dialogue on media, breakdown and recovery. We invite papers related to the following themes:

  • Media and crises of democracy
  • Media, COVID-19 and the global pandemic
  • Media, civility and incivility
  • Media misinformation, bias and fake news
  • Media and failure of institutions, infrastructures, and professionals
  • Media framing of catastrophe, crisis, and apocalypse
  • Media and breaking down genres and narratives
  • Media and cultural practices of collapse, repair and reconciliation
  • Media, arts and creativity on breakdown, dissolution and resolution
  • Media and cultural methods of deconstruction and reconstruction

The research questions include: 1. How can we critically examine media, breakdown and recovery across news, radio and television, film, arts and museums, digital and social media? 2. In what ways can we understand breakdown and repair in our analysis of media and culture? 3. What methods can we apply to the study of media breakdown and recovery? Different disciplinary approaches to research on the theme have developed in a variety of subject areas such as media, communication and cultural studies, political communication, sociology and anthropology, cultural geography, media history, film studies, art and creative practice, and memory studies. The symposium offers opportunities to seek overlaps and connections in pursuing our topic.

Confirmed speakers include Nico Carpentier (Charles University, Czech Republic), Simon Dawes (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France), Christine Geraghty (Glasgow University, UK), Joke Hermes (InHolland University, Netherlands), Annette Hill (Lund University, Sweden), and Peter Lunt (University of Leicester, UK).

Please submit an abstract of 300 words in English by December 14th 2021 to For further information please consult our website There is a registration fee of 850 SEK (90 Euros) that covers food and drink for the day and an evening buffet.