Religion and Communication Working Group

The Religion & Communication Working Group invites proposals for papers to be presented at the annual conference for the International Association for Media & Communication Research (IAMCR) to be held from 7-11 July, 2019 at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. The deadline to submit abstracts is midnight UTC on 8 February 2019.

Proposals for consideration by the Religion & Communication Working Group must be submitted via the IAMCR Open Conference System at

The overall theme of the conference is: Communication, Technology, and Human Dignity: Disputed Rights, Contested Truths

The year 2018 saw the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At its heart was the premise that everyone had the right to live in dignity. In the intervening years, with the successive growth of television, the explosion of digital media, and the emergence of artificial intelligence, communication systems have become ever more central to organizing every aspect of daily life, prompting renewed attention to questions around their role in both supporting and subverting the exercise of rights and the achievement of universal dignity.

The right to voice and visibility, to have one’s experiences and ideas fairly represented in the heartlands of public culture is now established as a basic human right alongside rights of access to the comprehensive information and analysis that supports individual expression and social participation on a basis of equality, dignity and mutual respect.

Under current conditions these fundamental communication-related rights are under increasing pressure and threat. Control over the organisation of innovations in communication and their applications has increasing passed from governments to corporations. At IAMCR Madrid 2019, we aim to analyse the impact of the latest advances in communication technology on society, culture and human rights, giving special importance to the quality and authenticity of sources and messages in view of increased mechanization and artificial intelligence. The context of these problems is how the advance of technology affects the quality of human life, how communication technology affects the objectivity of facts, and how the geopolitical and socioeconomic contexts are affected by the most recent changes in the structure and modes adopted by communication processes.

All this has ramifications for the academic study of media and religion.

Against the background of the theme of the 2019 conference, Communication, Technology, and Human Dignity: Disputed Rights, Contested Truths”, the working group will explore and discuss cognition, integral and associational, between human dignity, religion, media and communication.

Some themes that may provoke reflection among working group participants include:

  • Religious minorities: the right to voice and discrimination in public sphere
  • Communicating faith in the Net: pros and contras of the technological innovations
  • Framing religious news in the age of post-truth
  • Religious agenda-setting in mainstream media: actors, stakeholders and the audience impact
  • Who speaks in the name of God: 'propaganda fidei', authority and authenticity
  • Communication on Excommunication: Moscow-Constantinople conflict coverage in media
  • Religious revival after atheism: 'right to believe' articulation in secular media

But papers across the broad spectrum of research on the relationship of religion, media and communication are equally encouraged. There is hardly an established canon of research in this wide field of religion, communication and culture, although some nuclei in the current research agenda can be identified. These include:

-- Images of religion in mass media; news coverage of religion.
-- Religious communities and the media.
-- Impact of media on religious practices whether personal or institutional.
-- Theological approaches to the mass media.
-- New media and religion.
-- The emergences of the religious according to new mediatic conditions.
-- Film and religion.
-- Religious media.
-- Religious public relations.
-- The specificity of communication practices in religions given their singular content and claims.
-- Religious communication processes.
-- Media expression of faith and spirituality.
-- Re-interpretation of religion in the digital media context
-- Examination of oral  religious ancient communication, scriptures in digital context
-- Religious communication experiences, religious miracles in the current media explosion
-- Ancient religious communication theories
-- Communication theories and religion. 

Theoretical, methodological, empirical - all approaches are welcome for proposed papers, provided they offer good quality and interesting, novel perspectives in their respective methodological nature.

Criteria for Evaluation

Submitted abstracts will generally be evaluated on the basis of: theoretical contribution; methods; quality of writing; literature review; relevance of the submission to the work of the Working Group; originality and/or significance
Send your 300 to 500 words abstract from 3 December 2018 through 8 February 2019. In accord with the instructions of the IAMCR organisers, all abstracts should be identified  for the specific Religion & Communication working group, and must be submitted via the central Open Conference System (OCS) at   Submissions should not be sent directly to us at the working group. The OCS system will open on December 3rd 2018, and will close on February 8, 2019. No more than two abstracts may be submitted by any applicant.It is intended that decisions on acceptance of abstracts will be communicated to individual applicants by the Religion & Communication working group no later than March  28 2019.


The Religion & Communication Working Group can only accept abstracts in English and all its sessions will be held in English.

Key dates

The following are key dates for preparing your participation at IAMCR 2019

The deadline to submit abstracts is 8 February 2019, at 23.59 UTC.

    • 3 December 2018 - Abstract submission system opens at
    • 8 February 2019 - Deadline to submit abstracts
    • 28 March 2019 - Abstract decisions announced by sections and working groups
    • 7 April 2019 - Deadline to apply for travel grants and awards
    • 11 April 2019 - Deadline to confirm participation
    • 7 May 2019 - Draft conference programme schedule released
    • 14 May 2019 - Last day for Early bird registration
    • 7 June 2019 - Deadline for full paper submission
    • 17 June 2019 - Last day for changes to be made in the print version of the programme
    • 7-11 July 2019 - IAMCR Conference

Please share this notice with other academic researchers on media and religion.    

We look forward to seeing old and new participants in the working group in Madrid.

Chair:(Professor) Yoel Cohen        
School of Communication       
Ariel University, Israel                              
ysrcohen [at]       

(Professor) Binod Agrawal                              
School of Communication                                
Manipal Academy of Higher Education            
agrawal.binod.c [at]                           

(Professor) Victor Khroul
Faculty of Journalism
Moscow State University
amen [at]