Call for Proposals – « Comparative Digital Political Communication: Comparisons across Countries, Platforms, and Time. » ICA Preconference for Political Communication Division. Toronto, Canada. 24 May, 2023

Comparative Digital Political Communication: Comparisons across Countries, Platforms, and Time

ICA Preconference for Political Communication Division

Wednesday, 24 May, 2023

For over a decade and in several countries and contexts, digital communication technologies such as social media have grown increasingly important in political processes like elections, public consultations, and advocacy work done by civil society actors. In addition, these technologies are important for facilitating and documenting everyday interaction among citizens across the globe as well as between political actors/groups and their supporters. Indeed, our current “fourth age” (Bennett & Pfetsch, 2018; Magin et al., 2016) or “fourth era” (Klinger & Koc-Michalska, 2022; Roemmele & Gibson, 2020) of political communication is often defined by the characteristics of various digital tools and approaches. Research on these themes have flourished, giving rise to a series of different theoretical viewpoints, methodological perspectives, and empirical starting points.

While the diversity of digital political communication research is largely beneficial, recent work has pointed out a lack of comparative approaches in dealing with issues like online political campaigning and the political participation of citizens (Boulianne, 2020; Esser & Pfetsch, 2020; Jacobs et al., 2020; Kreiss et al., 2017), mirroring tendencies discernable in the broader field of media and communication studies (Liu et al., 2020; Matassi & Boczkowski, 2021).

This preconference seeks contributions that feature one or more comparative aspects as distinctive characteristics of their respective study designs. We ask for contributions relating to comparative aspects including, but not limited to:

  • Country comparison: As political and media systems differ across countries and contexts, so can we expect differences with regards to digital political communication across countries and contexts (Vaccari & Valeriani, 2021). Submissions drawing on this variety of comparison could, for instance, employ most-similar or most-different designs (Seawright & Gerring, 2008) in order to tease out differences and similarities across borders.
  • Platform comparison: Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have different affordances or architectures (Bossetta, 2018) and feature different user groups making it necessary to adapt communication efforts to fit with each specific platform. We invite contributions to engage with the different ways that platforms are used for political communication purposes.
  • Time period comparison: As both political practices and digital communication technologies are constantly evolving and changing (Boulianne, 2020), longitudinal insights are necessary to further our knowledge (Larsson, 2021). We invite submissions that deal with overtime developments, for instance during one or several election years in one or more specific contexts.

Select papers from the preconference will be invited to submit full papers to a special issue of Social Science Computer Review.

Submission process:

Please submit abstracts (250 words) using this link: https://loewenlab.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cwKf11RvBDtusNE or here below

Submit an abstract

The abstract submissions are due January 25, 2023. In the preconference abstract submission form, please be prepared to answer questions about which of the three comparison approaches are used (country, platform, time), the identity of all co-authors on your paper, and demographic questions about the corresponding/presenting author to help the organizers ensure diversity in presentations (junior vs. senior scholars, gender, country, racial and ethnic identity, etc.).

Preconference decisions will be made by the end of February and we will require registration for the preconference by March 31 to draft the program and confirm catering (two coffee breaks, lunch).

Venue and practical details:

The preconference will be held at Toronto Metropolitan (formerly, Ryerson University). The preconference is located less than 1.6 km/1 mile away from Sheraton Centre Toronto (ICA conference hotel). Public transportation is available; otherwise, the venue is less than a 20 minute walk from the hotel. At this time, we do not plan to have an online component, but we reserve the right to alter plans if necessary.

There is no registration fee for this preconference due to the generous support of the following sponsors:

  • Groupe de recherche en communication politique (GRCP)
  • Fonds d’aide à la recherche (FAR) Grant Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)
  • Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship(CSDC)/Centre pour L’ étude de la Citoyenneté Démocratique (CECD)

If you have any questions, please email Thomas Galipeau at 2023icapolcommpreconf@gmail.com or one of the conference organizers listed below.

Anders Olof Larsson, Kristiania University College, Oslo, Norway : AndersOlof.Larsson@kristiania.no

Shelley Boulianne, ESPOL- Université Catholique de Lille

Mireille Lalancette, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières (Québec), Canada.

Call for Proposals in PDF