The Graduate program at Simon Fraser University School of Communication hosts an annual conference, CONDUITS, this year entitled Structuration.

The 2024 CONDUITS Conference will take place on Friday, May 3rd, 2024, in-person at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre Campus in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

We are very excited to host 18 presenters from different disciplines, as well as a keynote presentation from Dr. Tanner Mirrlees. Panels will be hosted by a host of academics from Simon Fraser University. See the schedule here. 

Please RSVP here if you are attending the conference as an audience member, not a presenter. If you are a presenter, your attendance has automatically been counted. 

With keynote speaker

Dr. Tanner Mirrlees

Dr. Tanner Mirrlees is the current Director of the Communication and Digital Media Studies program at Ontario Tech University and a former president of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) (2020-2022) and a past organizer of the CCA’s annual conference for the Congress of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2018-2020). Mirrlees is the author of numerous books, including Work in the Digital Media and Entertainment Industries: A Critical Introduction, EdTech Inc.: Selling, Automating and Globalizing Higher Education in the Digital Age (with Shahid Alvi), Hearts and Mines: The US Empire's Cultural Industry, and Global Entertainment Media: Between Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Globalization. Mirrlees is also the co-editor of Media Imperialism: Continuity and Change,  Media, Technology and the Culture of Militarism, A Military-Industrial-Communications-Complex in Canada? and The Television Reader, and is on the boards of the Canadian Journal of Communication and Democratic Communiqué. Mirrlees’s current research focuses on the US-China global communications and media-tech rivalry, labor in the digital media and creative industries, and the politics of energy and green technologies. Recent publications on the geopolitical economy of the US-China topic include Ten Postulates of a Media Imperialism Framework: For Critical Research on China’s Media Power and Influence in the Global South (Global Media and China), The US and China’s Digital Tech War (A New Global Geometry? Socialist Register 2024), and A New Cultural Imperialist Rivalry? A Political Economy of Communication, for neither Washington nor Beijing (Global Media Dialogues: Industry, Politics and Culture).

The US and China's Digital Tech War: A New Asymmetric Rivalry, Within and Beyond the US Empire?

Today the US and China stand as the contemporary world’s foremost economic, military, and media-technological powers, but despite their distinct histories, states, economies, and national cultural identities, these two countries have engaged in decades of collaboration and remain deeply intertwined. While economic integration persists, the optimistic narrative of ‘Chimerica’ has faded due to the emergence of a new type of asymmetric rivalry marked by a form of national industrial competition and geo-strategic conflict. A flashpoint for this rivalry is the global digital tech sector, which encompasses computer hardware, software, and chips, telecommunications and smartphones, and internet services and social media platforms. The digital tech war between the US and China is the frontline of a new global power contest between the two countries that is shaping the world system’s future, within and potentially beyond the US Empire. How did the US-China digital tech relationship develop? Why has the US recently shifted from advocating international free trade, open market competition, and joint corporate ventures with China and its digital tech sector to enforcing national protectionism, subsidized enclosures, and sanctions? What are the economic and geopolitical conditions undergirding the US and China’s digital tech war for the world system’s future, and what are the implications of this conflagration for countries in the global South? Based in the geopolitical economy of communications, this keynote will address these questions.

Call for Proposals 

Structuration (strək-chə-ˈrā-shən): The process of creating social relations, mainly those organized around social class, gender, and race.

The Graduate Program at the Simon Fraser University’s School of Communication invites submissions for our annual conference, CONDUITS, this year entitled: “Structuration.”

Structuration is a theory originally articulated by sociologist Anthony Giddens (1984) to describe the mutually constitutive entanglements of human agency and social structure(s) that construct our world. Transcending the orthodox dichotomy between systems and subjects, Giddens accounts for the emergence and reproduction of social systems as the result of structured and habituated human action. The late communication scholar Vincent Mosco (2009) elaborated upon structuration in a political-economic mode, lending it a stronger social emphasis. By doing so, he focused scholars’ attention to the dimensions of race, class, and gender in the construction of social relations. In particular, he argues, “structuration calls on us to broaden the conception of class [...] to incorporate both a relational and a formational sense of the term” (16). Mosco advanced the political economy of communication beyond the study of media industries and strictly economic conceptions of class, expanding the field’s horizons to include all “social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources, including communication resources” (2). His work thus challenges the political economy of communication to become a more ambitious “study of control and survival in social life” (3).

To commemorate his life and work, our conference embraces Dr. Mosco’s imperative for the political economy of communication, and social sciences more broadly. We challenge scholars to tackle the hard problems of agency, social structure, gender, race, and class—and to do so ambitiously. 

Challenges include but are not limited to:

The CONDUITS organizing committee values the interdisciplinary nature of the graduate program at the School of Communication at SFU, so we welcome submissions from a wide variety of disciplines including but certainly not limited to history, media studies, film production, geography and urban studies, education, philosophy and mathematics, economics and actuarial sciences, labour studies, Indigenous studies, international relations, health science, computer science and mechatronics, anthropology, gender studies, sociology, and political science.

Submission Guidelines and other information:

We welcome individual, co-, and multi-authored proposals for presentations or artistic

interventions. Abstract submissions should be around 200-250 words in length and will provide a title, description of the presentation, and the authors’ full name(s) as well as institutional affiliations, if any. We also ask for a short biography of 50–100 words and contact information of the presenter(s).

Art works can be audio-visual, up to 10 minutes in length (mp3 or mp4), or up to 10 images (JPG, PNG, or GIF). Submissions may take the form of a short excerpt, up to a third of the length of the final submission. Please include a short (50–100 words) description of the work’s relevance to the conference theme, a title, and the creators’ full name(s), as well as institutional affiliations if any. We also ask for a short biography of 50-100 words and contact information of the presenter(s).

Submit proposals by Google form by 11:59 PST April 7, 2024.


Please visit our website for further details, or reach out to us at with questions/comments/suggestions.

Accessibility Statement:

The conference will have a hybrid format. We are committed to creating a

conference accessible to everyone. For participants attending the conference in person, we will be pleased to welcome you at Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver Campus at Harbour Centre. If you have any questions, comments, or requests regarding accommodation, please reach out to us at with the subject line “Accessibility.”

Land Acknowledgment:

Simon Fraser University has three campuses. We acknowledge the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓íc̓ əy̓ (Katzie), kwikwəƛ ̓ əm (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples on whose unceded traditional territories our three campuses sit. It is vital we continuously think about our role in on-going settler-colonialism and engage in material action.


Giddens, Anthony. 1984. The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Berkeley Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Mosco, Vincent. 2009. The Political Economy of Communication. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: SAGE.