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CFP: “Twitter Revolutions? Addressing Social Media and Dissent”

April 6, 2010

** Received via AoIR list **

The Communication Review special issue:

“Twitter Revolutions? Addressing Social Media and Dissent”
Volume 14, Issue 2 (2011)

Guest Editor: Christian Christensen, Uppsala University, Sweden

Christian Christensen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Media & Communication Studies
Department of Informatics and Media
Uppsala University, Sweden

“The Internet, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have reconstituted, especially among young people, how social relationships are constructed and how communication is produced, mediated, and received. They have also ushered in a new regime of visual imagery in which screen culture creates spectacular events just as much as they record them. Under such circumstances, state power becomes more porous and less controlled (…) Text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the Internet have given rise to a reservoir of political energy that posits a new relationship between the new media technologies, politics and public life (…) State power no longer has a hold on information, at least not the way it did before the emergence of the new media with its ability to reconfigure public exchange and social relations while constituting a new sphere of politics.” (Giroux, 2009)

Recent events in Iran – and in other locations such as Moldova, Georgia, Egypt, Palestine and China – have stimulated a great deal of discussion on the use(s) of social media for the purposes of political dissent and activist organization, as well as in impacting public opinion on matters of national and international security. What the Iranian case has added to the discussion – crystallized in the above quote from Giroux – is supposed evidence of the powerful role of social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in facilitating dissent during times of conflict and suppression. However, the aftermath of the June 2009 Iranian elections also provided ample evidence of the inverse: how the use of social media by anti-government activists, as well as access to highly sophisticated monitoring hardware and software on the part of the Iranian authorities, rationalized processes of state surveillance and repression. A great deal of discourse – often revolving around sexy phrases such as “Twitter Revolutions” or “The YouTube War” – has posited the central role of technology in anti-government protests or acts of dissent, only for critical questions to be raised shortly afterward regarding the actual level of use and impact of such technologies.

Welcoming a variety of methodological, theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, the purpose of this special issue of The Communication Review will be to publish papers which:

1. address the relationship between social media, dissent and political action from a variety of (critical) perspectives, avoiding excessively techno-deterministic and/or techno-utopian frameworks; 2. focus upon the use of newer forms of social media (for example, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube); and,
3. place particular emphasis on research addressing the use of social media in relation to dissent and/or political action from a diversity of national/regional contexts.


• Deadline for extended proposal submission: June 1, 2010 • Notification of proposals selected for full paper submission: June 30, 2010
• Deadline for full paper submission (selected proposals only): November 1, 2010

Proposal process

Authors are asked to submit an extended paper proposal of approximately 750 words to Christian Christensen […] by June 1, 2010. The proposal should address the main conceptual, theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the article, as well as what the piece will add to our understanding of the relationship between social media and dissent/political action. The proposal should be sent as a two page Word document: (1) a cover page with paper title, name, professional rank, institutional affiliation and contact information, and (2), the proposal on the following page(s), with no indication as to author identity/identities or affiliation(s).

Proposals will be reviewed and a select number of authors will be asked, on the basis of their proposals, to submit full papers. The full papers of approximately 7000-8000 words will be due on November 1, 2010. Please note that a request to submit a full paper is not a guarantee that the full version will be published. All full papers will go through peer-review, and it is on the basis of these reviews that the articles to be published in the special issue will be selected.

For further information regarding The Communication Review, please see:

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