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[Commlist] CfP PACO Re-connecting voices in the framework of open government. The strategic role of public sector communication
Thu Dec 13 13:05:08 GMT 2018
CALL FOR PAPER, PACO 13(2): 2020
PARTECIPAZIONE E CONFLITTO, issue 2, 2020
Call for paper for the Special issue on:
*“Re-connecting voices in the framework of open government.*
*The strategic role of public sector communication”*
Alessandro Lovari (University of Cagliari, Italy)
Lucia D’Ambrosi (University of Macerata, Italy)
Shannon A. Bowen (University of South Carolina, U.S.)
Call for paper:
The overall goal of this special issue is to investigate the strategic
role of public sector communication (Canel, 2012; Canel & Luoma-aho,
2018; Faccioli, 2000) to re-connect voices in the framework of open
government (Lathrop & Ruma, 2010). In contemporary society,
characterized by a growing sense of distrust in institutions (Edelman,
2018; Rosanvallon & Goldhammer, 2008) and by the impact of digital
technologies and social media, different actors are enabled to raise
their voices to contribute to policies and public debate, to create and
to delivery of public services, but also to protest or obstruct
government actions (Bennett & Segerberg, 2012; Coleman & Shane, 2011).
This plurality of voices is not only spread and made visible via the
Internet and the social web, but also portrayed in media coverage, and
integrated throughout public sector communication strategies and
Re-connecting voices means intentionally and strategically aiming at
creating flows, platforms and environments where these voices can meet,
fertilize and face each other, enabling participation and innovative
digital communication practices, fostering civic engagement or
revitalizing forms of democracy. Some scholars refer to this area of
communication as instilling symmetry or dialogical feedback loops
In this context, public sector communication can have a strategic role
to manage voices and relations with citizens, media, and collectivity
(Bartoletti & Faccioli, 2016; Harisson & Wessels, 2013). The use of
social media platforms in the institutional communication mix has deeply
transformed and rearticulated these relationships and practices (Lovari
& Valentini, 2019; Haro-de-Rosario et al., 2018; Warren et al., 2014).
The participatory potential of every citizen/user is constantly
increasing, so as the opportunities of inclusion and listening of
digital and traditional publics for public administrations are wider and
often unexplored (Bowen 2013; Massoli & D’Ambrosi, 2014). Nowadays,
social media represent one of the most important areas to experiment and
improve new forms and practices of public sector communication
(Dahlgren, 2009; Kent, 2013; Ducci, 2015).
The special issue aims at investigating the plurality of voices and the
re-articulation of communication strategies and practices around open
government. The issue will critically reflect the strategic role of
public sector communication in building an open government approach,
considering the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs)
to enable innovative processes and/or to influence citizens’ behaviors
in order to achieve specific policy objectives (Capano & Pavan, 2018).
In this prospective, open government is investigated also in respect to
contexts in which data are produced and disseminated, in order to ensure
the effective voices from citizens to be integrated in public policies
(Harris &Fleisher, 2017). At the same time, this increased transparency
and citizens’ participation could foster digital surveillance. The
production of communication enabled by digital platforms makes
everything more transparent and controlled, evolving in a digital
panopticon in which everyone can be observed and controlled.
Surveillance of digital publics, data collection and their manipulation
are related problems, and they represent an ethical challenge for public
sector organizations and threats for citizens (Lyon, 2018; Zavattaro &
Moreover, the special issue will focus on how different voices
intertwine or conflict in a hybrid, fragmented and corporatized media
system characterized by the increasing spreading of problematic information.
From one side, the public sector voice will be taken into
consideration, focusing on offline and digital communication implemented
by public organizations, investigating ethical, sociological, and
political implications. Many questions arise in this context. What are
the ethical responsibilities of public sector organizations with regard
to citizen engagement? Are public sector organizations prepared to face
these challenges? With trust in government at an all-time low,
communication can represent a key to building open and accessible
discourse, as well as helping to make government both responsible and
reflexive? How do public sector communicators can give visibility to
citizen voices? What are the skills required to address the challenges?
On the other side, this special issue will focus on citizens’ voices,
investigating grassroots communication practices and dynamics of
participation in conventional or protest-oriented ways. For instance:
how do citizens’ voices engage (or disengage) with governmental and
public sector organizations? How do citizens perceive public sector
organizations’ communications? What are the effects produced and enabled
by open government’s initiatives in different countries? What are the
threats of adopting an open government approach in citizens’ perception?
What measures should be taken with regard to information, privacy, and
the ethical responsibilities of the public sector with
Furthermore, other voices, such as NGOs, non-profit associations, and
news media, will be taken in consideration for the special issue.
Articles, employing different theoretical, empirical and methodological
approaches, should explore one or more of the following thematic areas:
The evolution of public sector communication models and strategies in
the open government framework;
The value and the role of public sector communication in the
Strategic communication practices for listening and engaging with
Social media as enabling platforms for trust and participation;
Rhetoric of technological innovation, misalignments between public
sector communication’s strategies and policies, and citizens’
expectations and needs;
Civic hacking practices, between dissent and proactive communication
Media representation of open government’s value and practices;
Unheard voices and grassroots communication practices;
The ethical responsibilities of public sector communication, often in
relation to data and privacy in the digital realm.
Bartoletti R., Faccioli F. (2016), Public Engagement, Local Policies and
Citizens' Participation: An Italian Case Study of Civic Collaboration,
in «Social Media + Society», July-December.
Bennett W. L., Segerberg A. (2012), The logic of connective action, in
«Information, Communication & Society», 15:5, pp. 739-768.
Bowen S. A (2013), Using classic social media cases to distill ethical
guidelines for digital engagement, in Journal of Mass Media Ethics:
Exploring Questions of Media Morality, 28(2): 119-133.
Capano G., Pavan E. (2018), Designing anticipatory policies through the
use of ICTs', in «Policy and Society», pp. 1-23.
Canel M. (2012), Government communication: an emerging ﬁeld in Political
Communication research. In H. Semetko & M. Scammell (Eds), The Sage
handbook of Political Communication (pp. 85–96), London: Sage.
Canel M., Luoma-aho V. (2018), Public sector communication. Closing gaps
between citizens and public organizations. Hooboken, US, Wiley and Sons.
Coleman S., Shane P. M. (2011), Connecting democracy. Cambridge, MA, The
Dahlgren P. (2009), Media and Political Engagement: Citizens,
Communication, and Democracy, New York, Cambride University Press.
Ducci, G. (2015), Public communication in the Processes of Transparency
and Accountability in the Era of Open Data, in «Sociology Study», Vol.
5, n. 2, February, David Publishing Company, EL Monte CA, USA, pp. 83-90.
Edelman (2018), Trust Barometer, https://www.edelman.com/ trust2018/
Faccioli F. (2000), Comunicazione pubblica e cultura del servizio, Roma,
Grunig J.E. (2000), Collectivism, collaboration, and societal
corporatism as core professional values in public relations, in «Journal
of Public Relations Research», 12(1), pp. 23–48.
Harris P., and Fleisher CS (2017), (Eds.) The Sage Handbook of
International Corporate and Public Affairs, Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Harrison J., Wessels B. (2012), Mediating Europe. New Media, Mass
Communications and the European Public Sphere Oxford, Berghahn Books.
Haro-de-Rosario A., Sáez-Martin A., and Caba-Pérez M. (2018), “Using
social media to enhance citizens engagement with local government:
Twitter or Facebook?”, in «New Media & Society» 20, 1, pp. 29-49.
Kent M. (2013), Using social media dialogically: Public relations in the
reviving democracy, in «Public Relations Review», 4, pp. 337-345
Lathrop D., Ruma L. (2010), Open Government. Collaboration,
Transparency, and Participation in Practice. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
Lyon D. (2018), The culture of surveillance, Polity Press, UK.
Lovari A., Valentini C. (2019), Public sector communication and social
media: Opportunities and limits of current policies, activities, and
practices, in Luoma-Aho V., & Canel, M.J (Eds), Handbook of Public
Sector Communication, Wiley -Blackwell.
Massoli L., D’Ambrosi L. (2014), Environmental Movements, Institutions
and Civil Society: A New Way to Preserve Common Goods in «Partecipazione
e Conflitto», n. 7, Lecce, University Publishing Home, pp. 657 – 681.
Warren A. M., Sulaiman A., and Jaafar N. I. (2014), Social media effects
on fostering online civic engagement and building citizen trust and
trust in institutions in «Government Information Quarterly» 31, 2,
Rosanvallon P., Goldhammer A (2008), Counter-Democracy: Politics in an
Age of Distrust, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Stewart K., Lee M. & Neeley G. (2012) (Eds.), The practice of government
public relations, London: Taylor & Francis.
Zavattaro S. M, Sementelli A. J. (2014), A critical examination of
social media adoption in government: Introducing omnipresence, in
«Government Information Quarterly» 31, pp. 257-264.
Submission of Long Abstracts: *10th November 2019*
Submission of Full Articles: 10th March 2020
Provision of peer reviewed feedback: 15st May 2020
Submission of revised accepted articles: 19th June 2020
Publication of the Special issue: 15th July 2020
Articles should be no longer than 10,000 words, including notes and
references. A maximum of 10 articles will be published.
Please refer to the editorial guidelines available at
Abstracts must be sufficiently detailed to allow the PACO editorial
board to judge the merits of the paper, including:
(1) A description of the topic,
(2) The theoretical framework,
(3) Empirical data, time frame and research methods,
Abstracts lacking these information will be immediately rejected.
Please address any queries to the Editors
Proposals and papers have to be sent to the guest editors:
(lucia.dambrosi /at/ unimc.it) <mailto:(lucia.dambrosi /at/ unimc.it)>
(alessandro.lovari /at/ unica.it) <mailto:(alessandro.lovari /at/ unica.it)>
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