Symposium: 'Democracy and Digital Disintegration: Actors, Platforms, Citizens'

Conference

Date: Thursday 10 November 2022

Time: 08.00 – 19.00

Location: The Film House/Filmhuset, Borgvägen 1-5, Stockholm

Call for papers for a special issue of Nordicom Review and Invitation to Symposium at Stockholm University, 10 November 2022

The symposium will take place on November 10, 2022. Photo: Rodion Kutsaev/Unsplash © 2017
The symposium 'Democracy and Digital Disintegration: Actors, Platforms, Citizens' will take place at Stockholm University on November 10, 2022. Photo: Rodion Kutsaev/Unsplash © 2017


Editors

Andreas Widholm, Stockholm University (andreas.widholm@ims.su.se
Mattias Ekman, Stockholm University (mattias.ekman@ims.su.se


Important dates 

  • Deadline for extended abstracts: 1 September 2022     
  • Notification of acceptance to symposium (attendance voluntary): 15 September 2022  
  • Symposium at Stockholm University: 10 November 2022  
  • Invitation to submit full paper: 24 November 2022  
  • Full paper submission: March 2023  
  • Peer review process: Summer/Autumn 2023  
  • Expected publication (Open Access): January 2024 
     

The Digital Human Sciences Research Hub and the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University and Nordicom invite scholars from a broad range of disciplines to submit extended abstracts for a special issue of Nordicom Review, focusing on the political, social, cultural, and juridical implications of digital technologies for a sustainable democratic information environment.  

Accompanying the call, we welcome interested scholars to a symposium with the theme “Democracy and Digital Disintegration”. Our goal is to facilitate dialogue between researchers of various disciplines and create opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. 

The symposium will take place in the Film House in Stockholm and is free of charge. Acceptance of a paper for the special issue is not dependent upon participation in the symposium. Coffee, lunch, and dinner on the evening of 10 November is included for all participants. After the symposium, selected papers will be considered for the special issue. 


Background and aim 

The rapid and profound transformations associated with contemporary media systems have severe consequences for democracy and public debates. Social media play an increasingly central role for political participation, especially among young citizens, and digital platforms have significantly changed how political parties operate strategically to mobilise voters and influence public opinion. Furthermore, activists and social movements have access to new digital tools to raise awareness about their causes and to coordinate protests. Digital platforms have also become central venues for the distribution and circulation of news – by legacy media institutions as well as new alternative or “fake” media organisations. Hence, today’s citizens find themselves in a hybrid information environment, where the boundaries of traditional journalism, hyper-partisan news, political propaganda, and strategic (dis)information have become increasingly blurred. 

Digital platforms are drivers of change towards a more globalised, interconnected, and socially integrated world. However, platforms simultaneously contribute to the disintegration of the citizenry. While algorithmic content recommendation systems may help people more easily navigate abundant information flows online, concerns have been raised that they may also contribute negatively to information diversity, prioritising content that corresponds to the worldviews and ideological preferences of individual users. Moreover, in addition to benefits such as facilitating public debate and mobilisation, the economic and technological infrastructure of social platforms have proved to fuel political polarisation, racism, and affective language use, making democracies increasingly vulnerable and open to manipulation and antidemocratic influences.  

This global information environment raises questions related to algorithmic transparency, regulation of information, digital censorship, and freedom of expression online, reflected most recently in the European Union’s ban of RT and Sputnik, two of Russia’s most influential global propaganda channels. Elon Musk’s potential acquisition of Twitter as an alleged act of “securing free speech” is a harbinger of future changes, also in need of scholarly attention.  

We aim for a collection of contributions with a clear interdisciplinary relevance for the Nordic region and beyond. We welcome contributions with longitudinal and/or comparative perspectives, as well as specific case studies that inform the Nordic and global context. We particularly welcome contributions employing innovative methodological approaches (qualitative as well as quantitative). Topics may include but are not limited to the following areas: 

  • Political news in mainstream and alternative media 
  • Political communication, activism, and digital propaganda strategies 
  • Integrative, transnational, and boundary-crossing aspects of digital media 
  • Affective platforms and politics of emotion 
  • Populism, racism, polarisation, and disintegrative aspects of digital media  
  • Practices of disinformation, manipulation, and “deep fakes” 
  • Discourses of disinformation (in politics, journalism, and other contexts) 
  • Fact-checking and source criticism 
  • Free speech, censorship, and regulation of information online 
  • The democratic challenges of algorithms and artificial intelligence 
  • Young citizens and digital media literacy 
     

Procedure 

Those with an interest in contributing should write an extended abstract (max. 750 words) where the main theme (or argument) of the intended paper is described. How the paper fits with the overall theme of the issue and symposium should be mentioned.  

Send your extended abstract to digdis@ims.su.se 

Scholars invited to submit a full manuscript (7,000–9,000 words) will be notified by e-mail after the symposium and after the abstracts have been assessed. All submissions should be original works and must not be under consideration by other publishers. 

Contact 

Questions about Digital Human Sciences Research Hub (DHV), the special issue, and related November symposium can be addressed to Andreas Widholm (andreas.widholm@ims.su.se) or Mattias Ekman (mattias.ekman@ims.su.se). 

About Nordicom Review 

Nordicom Review  adheres to a rigorous double-blind reviewing policy and articles are published Open Access with no processing charges for authors. Nordicom Review includes research with relevance for the Nordic context and welcomes interdisciplinary submissions from a worldwide authorship, including both empirical and theoretical articles. 
 

Read more about Nordicom Review here

More information  on the Nordicom website

Brief information in the Swedish calendar