Etmaal 2023Theme and Keynotes

Theme and Keynotes

The theme of Etmaal 2023 is ‘Communication in Transforming Societies’. We are living in a time of disruptions and upheavals that affect global and local societies on an unprecedented scale. Some of these shifts primarily affect digital societies, such as with blockchain technologies and the Metaverse, while others like the COVID-19 pandemic, energy crises, and ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are more immediately tangible in physical societies. Impacts are felt on political, social, environmental, economic, technological, organizational and psychological levels, but the true consequences of these transformations are more difficult to grasp and might lead to unexpected events that were even not foreseen by the people involved with them from the outset. The research disciplines we call communication sciences provide more clarity in these transformations, both in terms of describing the phenomena as well as their consequences. Communication scientists are poised to study what happens at the front of these waves of change, charting human experiences and behavior in a descriptive sense as well as determining the feasibility and effects of individual and social interventions in a prescriptive sense.

There are two keynote events scheduled in the Waaier building on Thursday, February 2nd. The opening keynote starts at 12:00 (noon), and the second starts after the final parallel session of the day at 17:00 (5 PM).


The opening keynote “Communication in Transforming Societies” brings Professor Emeritus Jan van Dijk, Professor dr. ing. Alexander van Deursen and Dr. Suzanne Janssen in conversation about communication in transforming societies. In 5 minutes each, van Dijk draws out his full theory about power related to technology, integrating natural, technical and social power, van Deursen addresses the role of technology in the processes of human communication while ensuring that technology development is at the service of people in a constantly changing media environment, and Janssen brings in her focus on the social implications of intelligent technologies (robots) in the workplace, with a particular emphasis on work motivation, work practices, and collaboration. Chaired by Dr. Femke Nijboer, the remainder of the session promises an interactive discussion between speakers and the audience.


The second keynote event is the “Special NeFCA Plenary Session: Reflection on 25 years of Etmaal". This event is organized by NeFCA. The NeFCA board describes this event as such: In this session, we celebrate 25 years of Etmaal and 10 years of NeFCA with four speakers. First, current NeFCA president Karolien Poels will chair this session with four very renowned speakers who will share their personal reflections on 25 years of Etmaal and on what the next 25 years may bring. The speakers are: Patti Valkenburg (Distinguished University Professor Youth, Media and Society, University of Amsterdam), Jeroen Jansz (Full Professor of Communication and Media at Erasmus University Rotterdam and our first NeFCA Director), Moniek Buijzen (Erasmus Professor AI in Society) and Sofie van Bauwel (Associate Professor Cultural Media Studies at Ghent University).

In this session, we will also have the annual award ceremony in which we will hand out the following prizes: The NeFCA Senior Career Award, the NeFCA Dissertation Award, the Frieda Says Prize, and the Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap Award for Best PhD Paper.