LAP Call for papers

Media, Politics and Democratization in Latin America
Latin American Perspectives

Issue editors: Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli and Javier Campo

This issue will focus on the critical intersections of media, democratization, and social struggles in recent Latin American political experience.   It seeks to analyze the media as key political-economic institutions, as the public sphere or contested political-cultural arenas within which political and social struggles are waged. The media will also be understood as the object of political struggles over legislation or regulations that shape its functioning.  We are particularly interested in the theoretical and empirical questions about media raised by attempts to theorize and construct new political, economic, social and cultural systems that are more participatory and egalitarian and by the centrality of the need to communicate for the development of movements for social change. We are interested in work that examines the full range of media from national and transnational conglomerates to participatory grassroots and social media, and considers media’s role in the political and social struggles of the democratic process.

In the last decades, the governments of Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Argentina have sought, through media reform, more participation in the production and distribution of media in principle to assure a plurality of voices. This political undertaking, which supporters of these elected governments see as an instrumental part of the process of re-democratization, is at the center of a controversial endeavor to overcome inequality in Latin America. For instance, the governments of Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina, have advanced new regulations through their respective congresses that are believed to be instrumental in the democratization of mass media. In examining media issues in the more progressive countries, we invite submissions that address the broad theoretical issues of media democratization and examine actual practice.  Our focus is on analyzing how different types of media (corporate, state/public, party, community, social, etc.) play a role in current struggles and on how particular types of media restructuring reshape power relations at all levels.
In other parts of Latin America governed by center and right wing governments, such sweeping media democratization projects are not underway, however, the wide range of social struggles in progress have generated innovative media forms and communication strategies, such as those linking the Zapatistas to international solidarity networks.  We also invite submissions that reveal the structural inequalities in the region and address the critical role of media in building social movements and in advancing their demands. Submissions could analyze a single country or social movement or several countries comparatively.  They could also examine transnational dimensions of media and politics from the role of transnational conglomerates to regional and international social movement networks.

The following are some questions we would like to consider in this collection: What is the role of the State in the production and distribution of media in the past few decades of neoliberal economics, post-dictatorship democratization processes, and increasing popular resistance to inequaltiy? Have new digital technologies helped to undermine the monopoly of media conglomerates (Rede GloboGrupo Televisa, Grupo Clarín)? How have the mass media served as “ideological organizers” of the right (as El Mercurio did in Chile under Allende) in the struggles against the radical governments of the region?  How does mass media influence social movements and electoral campaigns? What measures are Latin American governments implementing to bridge the so called “digital divide”? What are some of the theoretical and ideological debates centered on the role of the media in the consolidation of democracy and the pursuit of social justice? How do social movements use and/or create their own media? What are some of the contributions of grassroots organizations and groups such as the Coalition for Democratic Broadcasting (Argentina)?

Essays submitted for this special issue may also address the following or any other relevant topics:
* Distribution of subsidies to independent production companies, community radio stations and grassroots organizations as a guarantee of political diversity (and as an alternative to corporate media)
* Media laws and freedom of information regulations (e.g. Ley Resorte-Venezuela, Law for Community Broadcasting-Uruguay, Organic Communication Law-Ecuador, Bolivian Constitution of 2009)
* New media technologies (online broadcasting platforms, social networks, mobile networks, cable and satellite TV, etc.)
* Internet (broadband) and computer access and social inequality (State sponsored programs such as Programa Brasileiro de Inclusion Social and Programa Una Computadora para cada alumno (Argentina)
* History of media conglomerates and the promotion of policies to undermine their monopoly (license renewal and non-renewal)
* Public TV, audiovisual politics, and the distribution of cultural programming (fiction films and documentary films)
* Journalism, online publishing (bloggers)
* Electoral campaigns, TV/Radio coverage, and online social networks


To avoid duplication of content, please contact the issue editors to let them know of your interest in submitting and your proposed topic.  We encourage submission as soon as possible but this call  will remain open as long as it is posted on the LAP web site.

Manuscripts should be no longer than 8,000 words of double-spaced 12 point text, including notes and references, and should be paginated. The manuscript should include an abstract of no more than 100 words and 5 key words. Include a separate cover sheet with author identification, basic biographical and contact information, including e-mail and postal addresses.  Please follow the LAP style guide which is available under the “Submissions” tab.   Please use the “About” tab for the LAP Mission Statement and details about the manuscript review process.

Manuscripts may be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.  If submitting in Spanish or Portuguese, please indicate if you will have difficulty reading correspondence from the LAP office in English.  LAP will translate accepted manuscripts submitted in Spanish and Portuguese.  If you do not write in English with near native fluency, please submit in your first language.

All manuscripts should be original work that has not been published in English and that is not being submitted to or considered for publication in English elsewhere in identical or similar form.
Please feel free to contact the Issue Editors with questions pertaining to the issue but be sure that manuscripts are sent to the LAP office by e-mail to: with the subject line – “Your name – MS for Media issue”
In addition to electronic submission (e-mail, or CD-R or floppy disk if unable to send by e-mail) if possible submit two print copies including a cover sheet and basic biographical and contact information to:
Managing Editor, Latin American Perspectives¸ P.O. Box 5703, Riverside, California 92517-5703.
Editor contact information:

Tomas Crowder-Taraborrelli:
Javier Campo: