Call for papers: ICA 2024 Preconference: Reimagining Digital Activism: Navigating Complexities and Forging New Perspectives

In collaboration with the ICA Global Communication and Social Change Division & the ICA Activism, Communication, and Social Justice Interest Group.

With the proliferation of digital technologies, activism has experienced exponential growth, garnering attention from public debates, journalism, and academia over the past decades. Yet, the landscape of research on digital activism presents both established and emerging hurdles that impacts its progress. For instance, the prevalent focus on single countries or single platforms in existing scholarship significantly constrains the potential for comparative analysis and theoretical innovation. Meanwhile, the scarcity of available (free) data, primarily controlled by a few Big Tech companies, poses challenges for academics to build up a meaningful, valid, and complete portrayal of digital activism. Furthermore, the initial empowerment of political activism by emerging technologies has equally led to digital repressions, as both democratic and authoritarian regimes leverage enhanced digital technologies to curb activism. At the same time, activists have adopted more sophisticated strategies for employing digital activism as part of their repertoires, though the scope and impact still need further exploration. These factors collectively necessitate a reflection and realignment of current research on digital activism across theoretical, methodological, and empirical dimensions.

In this pre-conference, we look for original, rigorous, and innovative contributions and reflections on the intersection of activism and digital technologies. Submissions can adopt primarily theoretical frameworks or be grounded in empirical investigations, addressing both micro and macro-level research questions. Across all forms, submissions should make explicit, original, and substantial contributions to the literature on digital technologies and activism.

Call for papers

Timeline

Deadline for abstract submission: 26 January 2024
Acceptance notifications: 1 March 2024
Deadline for registration: 24 March 2024
Preconference: 20 June 2024

Submission

Abstracts of 400-600 words (excluding references) must be sent to activism.preconf@gmail.com by Friday, 26 January 2024. Please include author names, affiliations, contact information of the submitter, and a brief sentence on how the submission addresses the CFP.

We strongly encourage submissions that take a critical perspective on existing literature, investigate lesser-studied activist movements/platforms/ issues or that shed light on digital activities by activist minority groups and/or contentious actors of the Global South. We also welcome submissions by early career scholars and advanced PhD students.

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