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Interventions

Communication Research and Practice

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Edited By Adrienne Shaw and D. Travers Scott

This volume brings together a range of papers that fruitfully engage with the theme of the 2017 Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, held in San Diego, California: Interventions. Here "intervention" points to a range of communication practices that engage with a political event, social phenomena, industrial or socio-cultural practice, in order to alter and disrupt events and the norms and practices that contribute to their occurrence.  Interventions prohibit events from proceeding in a "normal" course. Interventions approach or critique practices and phenomenon resulting from tensions or absences occurring in: events, structures, (institutional governmental, media industry), discourses, and socio-cultural and subcultural events. Intervention presents the opportunity to explore boundaries, assumptions and strategies that appear to be different or irreconcilable, viewing them instead as possibilities for productive engagements. Communication interventions—in both research and practice—insert insights from diverse voices, marginal positions, emerging organizational practices and digital technologies, to broaden and enrich dialogue. Interventions bring complex reframings to events and phenomenon. Interventions seek to alter a course and effect changed practices in a range of spheres: governmental and social institutions, cultural and nongovernmental groups; industry and organizational life, new media and digital spaces, socio-cultural environments, subcultural groups, health environments, affective and behavioral life, and in everyday life.

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17. Sexual Representation and Visual Communication in the Editorial Design Space (Lynn Comella / Ryan Olbrysh)

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17. Sexual Representation and Visual Communication in the Editorial Design Space

LYNN COMELLA AND RYAN OLBRYSH

For communication scholars of sexuality, researching and writing about sex can present a number of challenges. How, for example, do scholars effectively communicate about their research when, as a culture, we are not very good at talking about sex? How do they navigate an academic field that has not always embraced sexuality studies as enthusiastically as other disciplines, such as history, sociology, and anthropology, all of which have long-standing subfields devoted to the examination of sexual subcultures, commerce, labor, and more? (See Frank, 2002; Miller-Young, 2014; Weiss, 2011). What strategies, moreover, might researchers use to bridge the divide between academic publishing and public intellectual work in an effort to shift cultural messages about sex away from alarmism and harm, toward more nuanced, factual, and substantive discussions? (See Comella, 2013; Comella & Sender, 2013).

These questions not only vex academic researchers, but they also pose challenges for cultural producers—writers, editors, and graphic designers—those “makers and doers” who generate content for general interest magazines, newspapers, and online publications. Sex is at once a topic of great interest, but it is also a subject that makes many editors and publishers nervous. Which stories pose the least risk of offending advertisers or readers? Which images are suitable for publication and which ones cross the line? What is involved in generating smart takes on...

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