Crises and Communication


Edited by Zachary J. McDowell, Peter Royal, and Justin Raden

Notwithstanding the current situation, periods of crisis and upheaval exacerbate inequities in our communication infrastructure and throw into sharp relief the profound barriers to access. In such fraught moments, we can glimpse the extent to which our systems of mediation differentially serve and confound us according to our positionality within these systems. To understand the effects of crises on communication, it is important to consider the history of systems of mediation that have both limited and encouraged access, participation, and equity across knowledge, space, and culture. What have crises, both present, perpetual, and past, intimated about flaws, gaps, and inequities in systems of communication that are overlooked or disregarded under “normal” (if “normal” exists) conditions? How might we think about how infrastructure relates to the crises and thus the infrastructures of communication are the infrastructures of communication in/justice? How and why are people and communities affected differently in these crises, and how do systems of communication and mediation both mitigate and compound these phenomena?

This issue takes on these and other approaches to explore crises and communication in what we hope will inspire and engage new approaches and investigations.



Introduction: Crises and Communication
Zachary McDowell, Peter Royal, and Justin Raden


Babel and Babble in Benjamin and Burke
Samuel McCormick and John Durham Peters