Journal of Communication
Submission Call for Special Issue on “Social Media and Political Change”
Guest co-Editor: Dr. Philip N. Howard, University of Washington
Editor: Dr. Malcolm Parks, University of Washington
The “Arab Spring” as well as recent events in other parts of the world have demonstrated that new communication technologies, such as mobile phones and the internet, are simultaneously new tools for social movement organizing and new tools for surveillance by authoritarian regimes. Though communication theory necessarily transcends particular technologies, software, and websites, digital media have clearly become an important part of the toolkit available to political actors. These technologies are also becoming part of the research toolkit for scholars interested in studying the changing patterns in interpersonal, political, and global communication.
How have changing patterns of interpersonal, political, and global communication created new opportunities for social movements, or new means of social control by political elites? The role of social media in new patterns of communication is especially dramatic across North Africa and the Middle East, where decades of authoritarian rule have been challenged—with varying degrees of success. Social media—broadly understood as a range of communication technologies that allow individuals to manage the flow of content across their own networks of family, friends and other social contacts—seem to have had a crucial role in the political upheaval and social protest in several countries. Mass communication has not ceased to be important, but is now joined with a variety of other media with very different properties that may reinforce, displace, counteract, or create fresh new phenomena.
This Special Issue seeks original qualitative, comparative, and quantitative research on social media and political change, particularly as related to events in North Africa and the Middle East, but we are also receptive to work on political change in other parts of the developing world. We would welcome manuscripts from a diverse range of methodologies, and covering diverse communities and cultures. Methodological innovations or mixed method approaches are particularly encouraged, and manuscripts on the interpersonal and intergroup aspects of social movement organizing are central interest. Whatever the approach, our goal is to select manuscripts that are grounded in the actual use of social media in promoting or resisting political change in developing countries and regions. If you have questions regarding the appropriateness of a potential submission, please contact Prof. Philip N. Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Deadline for Submission is August 15th, 2011, through http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jcom. Manuscripts must confirm to all JOC guidelines, including the use of APA 6th edition format and a limit of 30 pages total manuscript length. Please indicate your desire to be considered for the special issue in your cover letter.