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DNC6 (6th DiscourseNet Congress) – Discourse and the imaginaries of past, present and future societies: media and representations of (inter)national (dis)orders

Click here to download the English version of the DNC6 call for papers. Change the language of the website to access versions in other languages.

Website: www.discourseanalysis.net/DNC6 


Location: ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Brussels

Date: July 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th , 2025

Important dates:

  • Deadline paper proposals: February 28th 2025
  • Letter of acceptance or refusal: March 31st, 2025
  • Deadline registration: May 31st 2025 (authors of papers need to be paying DN members)

We use a staggered registration policy: paper proposals submitted earlier will be evaluated before the final deadline.

Language policy:

DiscourseNet is a multilingual association. At DNC6 we welcome contributions in the following languages: French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. We highly recommend providing a visual aid in English if you decide to present in Spanish or Portuguese. This is likely to facilitate interaction in multilingual panels. 


Topic: Discourse and the imaginaries of present and future societies: media and representations of (inter)national (dis)orders)

The 6th DiscourseNet Congress (DNC6) focuses on the discursive construction of social and political imaginaries. It offers a forum to discuss how social actors imagine and articulate past, present and future societies in a world marked by multiple and overlapping crises.

DNC6 welcomes contributions of authors who explore ontological, theoretical, and methodological aspects ofimaginaries that may (re)shape our societies. We also welcome analyses and case studies of specific imaginaries circulating in our mediatized societies. These may focus on linguistic, textual, narrative, visual, multimodal, and/or ideological articulations of social and political imaginaries.

This conference is open to discourse scholars from all disciplines, as well as to other scholars in the humanities and social sciences working on (aspects of) the imaginaries that allow      us to make sense of and shape our realities. DNC6 offers an interdisciplinary forum for discussing imaginaries and the discursive construction of old and new (inter)national (dis)orders.

A non-exhaustive list of questions that may be addressed at this event is provided below:

  • How are past, present, and future societies imagined in debates over culture, education, migration, economy, climate change, AI and/or robotics?
  • What are the building blocks of populist, neoliberal, environmentalist, radically democratic, reactionary and/or post-humanist imaginaries? How do these evolve?
  • What role do media play in the production, distribution, and consumption of imaginaries? How do media impact on the articulation of imaginaries?
  • How do media figure with(in) discursive imaginaries of past, present and future societies? What socio-technical imaginaries inform existing and future mediascapes?
  • How can one operationalize discourse analytical approaches, concepts, and methods to investigate cultural, social, political and/or environmental imaginaries.
  • How are imaginaries of past, present and future expressed in different media types and genres?
  • How can we identify imaginaries in works of fiction, non-fiction, and science fiction? What are their characteristics and how do they evolve over time?
  • How do discursively constructed imaginaries inform social identities and subjectivities? How do they impact on past, present, and future notions of citizenship?

DNC6 invites scholars to submit papers that may enrich our understanding of social and political imaginaries, through explicit theoretical discussions and/or through relevant case studies and discourse studies.

Concepts of the ‘imaginary’ have so far occupied a relatively marginal position in the field of discourse studies. While the notion is not absent in (critical) discourse studies, other meta-concepts such as narrative, ideology, hegemony tend to be used more frequently.

The concept of the imaginary currently figures more prominently in sociology, political philosophy, psychoanalysis, and media studies. In these disciplines we find competing and overlapping notions of the imaginary that merit discourse theoretical and analytical attention.

What place can we give to the concept of the imaginary in the field of discourse studies? What concepts and methods can discourse scholars offer to investigate social and political imaginaries? DNC6 invites discourse scholars to present relevant research and/or explicit reflections on such matters.

The imaginary has been conceptualized in a variety of ways. Imaginaries have been thought of as background horizons providing tacit and pre-reflective social meanings that prefigure the way subjects relate to themselves and to the world. They have been treated as images of self and society that infuse reality with imaginary significations. Authors have also drawn attention to the interpretive functions of imaginaries. 

Imaginaries play a key role in fictional and non-fictional types of discourse. They also play a role in the construction of social identities and ideologies. Psychoanalysis has stressed the importance of the imaginary in constituting subjects and subjectivity. The imaginary has been theorized in relation to ideology, as well as in relation to specific ideologies such as nationalism.

Concepts of the imaginary may help us to understand how social actors construct discourses of social (dis)order. Empirical studies have focused on topics as varied as the way scientists imagine the future of climate change, the construction of plans for the future of urban environments, migration, cyber- and energy security, university education, and so on.

We only started to scratch the surface of the literature on social and political imaginaries here. DNC6 invites scholars from all subfields of the transdisciplinary field of (critical) discourse studies to submit papers and to explore what lies under the tip of the iceberg. We also explicitly welcome scholars from other disciplines and perspectives in the humanities and social sciences:

  • Media studies
  • Communication sciences
  • Political sciences
  • International relations
  • History
  • Ideology studies
  • Semiotics
  • Linguistics
  • Post-foundational social research
  • Critical fantasy studies
  • Sociology of knowledge
  • Cultural studies
  • Audience and reception studies
  • Governmentality studies
  • Strategic narrative studies
  • Journalism studies
  • Populism studies
  • (Social) media studies
  • Visual culture
  • Future studies
  • Gender studies
  • Development studies
  • Post- and De     colonial studies
  • Environmental studies