CfP: Networked publics in the age of hybridity
Conference: ECPR General Conference 2018
Dates and place: August 22 – 25, 2018
Panel: Networked publics in the age of hybridity
Panel chairs: Gabriella Szabó (Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences) and Pawel Matuszewski (Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw).
Deadline: January 25, 2018
Part of the Section Political Network of the ECPR General Conference 2018, the Panel on ’Networked publics in the age of hybridity’ aims to examine the application of social network analysis into an arena of political science – political interactions. Inspired by the thesis of hybridity and the networked publics, we seek to comprehend the functions of connectivity in public discourses. Today’s political communication ecosystem is more than a convergence of offline and online: it is the transcendence into a new form of interactions by allowing for a rapid conversation on politics across multiple platforms with virtual proximities between the actors which supports the transfer of cognitive and emotive aspects of politics.
Previous researchers open the floor to the discussion that recognises public spaces as the spatial imagination of representations and narratives on politics. A branch of interdisciplinary literature addresses the issue of discussing politics in social networking sites that allow people to work around physical obstacles to communication and reduces the cost of interacting with people in remote places. Another stream of the studies, influenced by the relational paradigm of social science, identifies structured communication environments with no preconditions on the ways how platforms and/or group of communicators can be connected. It is revealed that connectivity certainly influences the flow and the quality of the public discourses.
Still, there is a pressing need for the empirical tests and data-driven examples to clarify conceptual and methodological directions of such networking activities in the realm of political interactions. For sure, the network itself does not determine the individual behaviour of the communicators, the connectivity however has a significant effect on the discursive opportunity structure in politics. It might be true in another way around as well, the architecture of the communicative environment potentially shapes the actor's perspectives on their interactions. One of the major limitations is the dominance of studies examining Western Europe and the US, and the lack of comparative works. Our knowledge is also unsatisfactory concerning the mechanisms of networked political interactions.
Therefore, we search for the comprehensive assessment of networking activities in public spaces with close monitoring of the inhabitants’ interactions incl. politicians, journalists, activists, experts, ‘netizens’ (citizens of the internet) and any actors. With this in mind, we wish to unpack the different aspects of networked publics in the age of hybrid communication. Innovative methods and research techniques are particularly invited to be presented either from ego-centric or socio-centric approaches of network analysis in order to reveal the discursive architectures in networked publics. The question will also be addressed whether the complex relationships between the political actors support the Brants – Voltmer’s thesis on ‘decentralization’ (2011), or it is better to assess the patterns of networked interaction as manifestation of the fights for dominance in the public discourses as it was discussed by Andrew Chadwick (2013). With this respect, we encourage scholars to submit reflections on the dismantlement of the old forms of communicative hierarchies and/or creating the new ones in the networked spaces.
The Panel welcomes contributions that map various elements which influence the flow of political messages as well as investigations of viral politics and exploration of the network structures binding political issues, actors and discourses together.
A special issue is planned to be published based on the best papers collected for the panel.
Please, send your abstract (no more than 250 words) to both organizers at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu and pawel.m.matuszewski[at]gmail.com by January 25, 2018. The possible participants will be informed in due time whether their papers have been accepted and be directed to submit the abstracts through the conference official submission platform before February 15, 2018.
More information on the ECPR General Conference is available at https://ecpr.eu/Events/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=115