Archive for 2020

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[Commlist] Call for Paper proposals: ECPR Panel on 'Social Movements and Digital Organizing'

Thu Jan 02 21:48:26 GMT 2020

Please see below for the Call for Paper proposals for a panel on ‘Social Movements and Digital Organizing’ which will take place at the next ECPR conference in Innsbruck (26-28 August 2020) as part of the section on “Current Research and Challenges on Political Participation and Mobilization”.  Please send me your paper proposals (up to 500 words) to (A.Kavada /at/ <mailto:(A.Kavada /at/> by *10 February* *2020*. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


*Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), Innsbruck, 26-28 August 2020*

*Panel Title: **Social Movements and Digital Organizing*

*Chair*: Anastasia Kavada (Reader in Media and Politics, School of Media and Communication, University of Westminster)

*Discussant*: Alice Mattoni (Associate Professor, Department of Political and Social Sciences University of Bologna)

*Abstract: *

Internet use is thought to have changed the organizational dynamics of social movements. This panel will take stock of changes and continuities in social movement organizing through both a historical analysis, looking back at 20 years of digital organizing, and a focus on emerging platforms and trends.

The panel invites papers that critically examine the relationship between digital media and different organizing models, posing important questions around the politics and ideology that informs the use of such media and their technical design. Research in this area has investigated whether and how the use of digital media fosters more decentralized and horizontal forms of organizing. It has also questioned the meaning of the term ‘organization’, asking whether it needs to be expanded to encompass more informal and unofficial practices of organizing that happen without social movement organizations or other institutions of collective action. It has also explored how digital communication practices can produce new organizations from below, as well as hidden hierarchies and power asymmetries that belie the purported drive towards horizontality. A key issue in this respect is how the values, goals, knowledge and experience of different collective actors affect practices of digital organizing.

The panel welcomes papers that focus on the role of digital media in mobilizing audiences and in creating communities of hope and indignation. Apart from Twitter and Facebook, that have received significant academic attention in recent years, the panel warmly invites papers that also investigate more private channels of communication, including internal email lists and instant messaging platforms like Telegram and Whatsaapp. It also encourages papers that look at the communication ecology of social movements or that may focus on one platform but locate its use within this ecology.

Yet beyond the functions and practices of digital media, this panel also asks critical questions around the significance of these changes (and continuities) in social movement organizing. Why do such changes matter? Research has investigated whether digital media use is facilitating the prefigurative politics of certain movements, helping activists to enact in the present the more democratic forms of organizing that they would like to see in the future. Other research has looked at the impact of such media practices on the mobilizing potential of social movements, on the speed of action and its impact on public opinion and policy makers, as well as on its potential to escape the restrictions of more authoritarian regimes. The panel invites papers that advance our understanding of why and how digital organizing matters for collective action, aiming to make a critical contribution to this field of research.

*Please send your proposed paper title, keywords (max. 8) and a 500 word abstract (toA.Kavada /at/ <mailto:(A.Kavada /at/>by 10 February 2020.*

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