Narrating New Normal: Graduate Student Symposium Report

Ruepert Jiel Dionisio Cao*, Minos Athanasios Karyotakis, Mistura Adebusola Salaudeen, Dongli Chen, Yanjing Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article summarizes the events at Narrating New Normal: Graduate Student Symposium, held virtually on May 17–18, 2021. The symposium was organized by a number of graduate students from the School of Communication and Film (previously named the School of Communication) and was supported by Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images and the School of Communication and Film. It was attended by an international roster of graduate students hailing from academic institutions and think tanks in different countries. The presentations focused on the usage of the phrase new normal, a popular term during crises, in various geopolitical, geocultural, and historical contexts. The essay discusses first the background and theoretical framework that informs the symposium. Conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis that has seen the use of the phrase new normal in describing the shifts in our daily lives or imaginations of a postcrisis future. Taking a critical approach, the symposium aims to interrogate how the phrase is used by different social institutions, corporations, and individuals in various crises, considering how it normalizes precarity. This essay also summarizes the keynote lecture delivered by professor Michal Krzyzanowski (Uppsala University) on the discursive strategies of normalization and mainstreaming. It also covers the papers and discussions across four panels that examined the different aspects of normalization and of new normal in its various incarnations: geopolitics, networked media spaces, normalization and precarity, and popular culture. The article ends by offering a synthesis of the major threads that tie the presentations and addresses together. It proposes that while the phrase new normal normalizes and obfuscates precarity, it also suggests that there are pockets of optimism during crises where we can witness human resilience and individual agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • new normal
  • normalization
  • crises
  • precarity


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