Archive for 2018

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[ecrea] Call for abstracts: Open-access book and two-day workshop on vigilant audiences.

Wed Mar 07 17:22:57 GMT 2018

Call for abstracts: Vigilant Audiences: Understanding Scrutiny, Denunciations, and Shaming in Digital Media Use. (includes link to call PDF)

We are seeking contributors for an open-access edited volume as well as a two-day workshop in October, on the topic of digital vigilante audiences. This proposed edited collection concerns media users in terms of their vigilant engagements with others. By looking at practices in which digital media users respond to individuals breaching legal and moral boundaries, we can better understand their motivations, but also the broader conceptual and societal implications of these practices.

Today’s media landscape allows for scrutiny and intervention in the lives of others. Conventional outlets such as the press and reality television are supplemented and even supplanted by digital media users, who can report and comment on events through any number of mobile applications and other web-based platforms. They may denounce high-profile crimes, such as terrorism, sexual abuse, pedophilia, or participation in riots. They may also target comparatively benign transgressions such as petty theft, bad parking, or disorderly conduct (whether in embodied public spaces or online). In some cases, unaffiliated citizens may play a primary role in breaking a story, for example, by publishing footage of a criminal event to a public forum. In other cases they may respond to a story that broke through a public broadcaster, but shape the visibility and public perception of that story through vitriolic commentary, crowdsourced information about the perpetrator, among other practices. Contemporary media systems may be considered as hybrids (Chadwick 2013) in the sense that journalists and other media actors mobilise and in some cases even depend on their audiences, who play an active role in ‘making’ a story. While media scholars talk about news-making assemblages (ibid.), and criminologists talk about surveillant assemblages in the context of police scrutiny (Haggerty and Ericson 2000), we may consider the extent to which any single instance of user-involved vigilantism involves data flows that implicate both criminological and journalistic spheres.

Vigilantism and shaming as social practices have long histories that predate digital media. Yet the adoption of services like Twitter, along with the popularity of populist social news platforms and the ubiquity of comment sections on news sites means that these practices are accessible to any user, and may have a lasting impact on the lives of those who have been targeted. Vigilant media use not only impacts the lives of those who have been denounced, but also may serve to discipline and otherwise govern over those who share categorical affiliations (on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, political views, economic status, among others) and may fear negative repercussions. In other words, mediated vigilance and shaming may contribute to one’s own self-scrutiny, and may shape everyday practices and politics of visibility. Research on vigilante movements is typically concerned with the complexities and contradictions in relations between states and citizens: one the one hand, citizens seem to operate in excess of the state, yet they also share similar objectives (ex: ‘safe streets’) and hegemonic cultural values. This remains the case with digital media and digital vigilantism, and in addition the relations between media outlets and media users warrant conceptual and empirical attention.

Contributions to this edited collection will address contemporary digital media practices involving users both consuming and participating in the denunciation of other individuals. We welcome scholarship engaged with a range of (cross-)disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to sociology, criminology, cultural and media studies. Contributions are not limited to any national or regional context, and we are especially interested in cases and contexts that have not received prior scholarly attention. In particular, we seek chapters that make theoretical and empirical contributions in response to the following questions: - What role do audiences play in denunciatory media (ex: tabloid press; crime-based reality television; populist websites)? - How do the press portray user-led shaming practices? How might these representations vary according to social and political context? - In what ways do established and emerging mediated vigilante practices shape each other (ex: the relation between Twitter use and journalism, or between covering a shaming campaign and contributing to it)? - How might either traditional or entrepreneurial forms of populism (Fieschi and Heywood 2004) contribute to contemporary denunciatory practices? - What role might less visible media practices such as ‘listening’ or ‘lurking’ play in mediated shaming, notably in terms of scrutiny or in terms of composing imagined audiences? - What role do digital media (including mobile apps, social platforms and other web-based services) play in scrutiny and denunciation? - How might scrutiny and denunciatory practices either reinforce or contest categorical forms of discrimination and violence? - How might the public (whether in their role as audiences, educators, parents, guardians, etc.) modify their media use in response to (the possibility of) public scrutiny, denunciation and harassment? - What kinds of subject positions are typically invoked in the mediated representations of outrage (ex: the ‘failson’, diaosi, etc..)

Contributing authors are also invited to participate in a two-day workshop on this topic in October, to be held in Rotterdam, NL. This will be an opportunity for authors to present their works in progress and receive constructive feedback. Modest funds will be able to partly support travel and accommodation for contributors.

Final versions of chapters should be no longer than 7500 words, including references and notes. We intend to submit a full proposal to Open Book Publishers (, a nonprofit open-access publisher that has expressed an interest in this collection.

We are currently seeking extended abstracts of approximately 800 words. Please send this (following the guidelines below) to Daniel Trottier ((trottier /at/ <mailto:(trottier /at/>) no later than Friday, April 27th, 2018.

Tentative schedule
Extended abstracts due: 27th April 2018
Notification of accepted contributions: 15th May 2018
Workshop in Rotterdam: early October 2018 (exact dates TBA)
First draft of chapters due: 15th December 2018
Feedback on chapters returned: 15th February 2019
Final versions of chapters due: 1st May 2019

Extended abstract structure
In order to be considered, abstracts should adhere to the following structure (approx. 800 words, please address each aspect separately and include the specific headlines in your abstract):
- Contribution title
- Full name of the author(s)
- Institutional affiliation(s) and position(s)
- e-mail address(es)
1) Purpose: What are the overall tasks and research questions the chapter addresses? 2) Scope: What is the scope of the analysis? This may include a time period for the analysis, geographic scope, phenomena that are either included or excluded in the analysis, or particular social spheres and their interrelations. 3) Method: Which theoretical approaches and empirical research methods are employed for answering the research questions and attaining the chapter’s task?
4) Results: What are the main results presented in the paper?
5) Conclusions: What are the main conclusions of the conducted research for concerned scholarly fields of study? 6) Recommendations: What are the main recommendations for scholarly research, as well as other concerned actors such as citizens, the press, digital media platforms and government branches?

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