Master's Degree Programme in Media and Global Communication (MGC)

Professor Anu Kantola photograph by Şehlem Kaçar Sebik

The Promotional Turn

International conference on promotional logics in current societies

On 18 March, 2016, the International Master’s Programme Media and Global Communication (MGC), University of Helsinki, hosted an international one-day conference on contemporary promotional logics within political, cultural and public life. The event is organised in collaboration with the Public, Politics and Promotion Research Group (P3) in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Helsinki

Promotional activities and strategies have gained an important role in contemporary societies as they circulate rapidly across all sectors of society. Furthermore, a wide range of people, agencies and institutions from politicians to dissidents employ promotional strategies to advance their aims. Hence, this conference will explore contemporary promotional practices, tactics and logics and ask: How is promotion affecting public life in democracies? What theoretical and empirical tools are available for examining promotional logics within political, cultural and public life? Thus, leading scholars will discuss the rapidly evolving forms of promotional culture and their implications for society and will also establish ways of studying promotional culture.

Please find brief summaries of each plenary speech and the Panel discussion below in the programme linked through the titles of the speeches.

Photo Album


9.00   Coffee

9.20   Welcome (Mervi Pantti, MGC)

9.30   Promotional Logics in Media

Melissa Aronczyk (Rutgers University, USA): The Inattention Economy: The promotional logics of distraction

          Chair: Anu Kantola, comment: Katja Valaskivi

10.30 Promotion of Finance                 

Clea Bourne (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK): Hidden Finance, Organised silence: Communicative strategies in financial market silos

Chair: Anu Kantola, comment: Markus Ojala

11.30 Lunch

12.30 Promotional Science

Andy Williams (Cardiff University, UK): Selling Science? Problems with science news and public relations

Chair: Salli Hakala, comment: Esa Väliverronen

13.30 Promotion Enters Politics

Sigurd Allern (University of Oslo, Norway): When lobbyists invites journalists to dance: Promotional professionals in Nordic politics.

          Chair: Salli Hakala, comment: Anu Kantola

14.30 Coffee

14.45 – 16.00 Panel: The Promise of Promotion in Communication and Media Studies         

       Discussants: Katja Valaskivi Sigurd Allern, Melissa Aronczyk,           Clea Bourne and Andy Williams. Chair: Anu Kantola




Sigurd AllernSigurd Allern

Sigurd Allern is Professor of Journalism Studies in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, Norway, and Visiting professor in the Department of Media Studies, University of Stockholm. His main research areas are the political economy of the news media, news values, political communication, relations between journalism and public relations.



Melissa AronczykMelissa Aronczyk

Dr Melissa Aronczyk is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers University, the United States. She is the author of Branding the Nation: The Global Business of National Identity (2013) and the co-editor of Blowing up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture (2010).






Clea BourneClea Bourne

Dr Clea Bourne is a lecturer in Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research critically examines mediations of finance in global and local discourses. Her work has explored financial communication practices in a range of sectors including central banks, hedge funds, ratings agencies, investment banking, life insurance and informal investment schemes. Her work has been published in Culture and Organisation, Public Relations Inquiry, Journal of Public Relations Research and New Media and Society, as well as various edited collections. Her monograph exploring Trust, Power and Public Relations in Financial Markets will be published by Routledge in the coming year.




Andrew WilliamsAndy Williams

Dr Andy Williams is a lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. His current major research interest relates to news sources and the influence of public relations on the UK media, especially in the area of science, health and environment news. He has a number of other research interests which intersect journalism studies and cultural studies, including: the decline of the local news industry in the UK; the rise of community “hyperlocal news”; and citizen participation in news.