CFP: Political communication in networked societies

Call for submissions to /Northern Lights/, Volume 15 — Theme issue on:

Political communication in networked societies*

/Volume editors: Eli Skogerbø and Risto Kunelius/

Politics and political communication take place in an increasingly
networked, multi-level environment. At the same time, small and large
societies alike share major political challenges. Topics such as
migration, terrorism and climate change are increasingly discussed on
global media networks and through personal and social media, creating
new connections, new constellations of actors and new dynamics in our
systems of political communication. Northern Lights invites papers that
tackle these changes and challenges in political communication from
diverse perspectives and with different methods.

Political processes and decision-making demand political communication.
Whether we refer to politicians, organised interests, journalists,
citizens or other actors, political communication is important for
attitude formation, knowledge and action. Over the past decades, the
number of researchers has increased; the research field has expanded
thematically and methodologically; and a range of new and old media
forms and formats have become objects of study. While there is
substantial knowledge of how some of the new social media have been
integrated into political communication, there are fewer studies of how
the hybridization of the public sphere has an impact on political

Politics is about the governance of society, cooperation and conflict,
values and interests. Political communication, accordingly, refers to
any use of symbols to act politically and to influence governance.
Traditionally, research on political communication has often been tied
to national elections and election campaigns. It has provided in-depth
analysis of the relationships among elite political actors inside the
political system. However, as changes in the communication landscape
enable new issues and actors to play new roles, we need to pay more
attention to the affordances of the networked, intensively-connected
environment, its emerging logic, encounters, and communication
practices. Of particular interest today are studies of non-elected
political actors and the different strategies, ways and registers with
which they communicate to gain influence over political outcomes.
Whereas political communication has often concentrated on the triangle
of politicians, journalists and citizens/audiences, we open this volume
to studies involving a wider set of political actors and interests -
including, e.g., bureaucrats, communication advisors, leaders of
corporations and organisations, and citizens’ groups.

We encourage articles that study political communication at all levels
of politics — from the local to the regional and global levels. Of
particular interest are comparative studies over time, across political
systems, or between levels of politics.

Research topics may include but are not restricted to:

• Political actors and communicative forms: What new kinds of political
actors are emerging in the wake of the hybridization of public spheres?
How do different actors communicate? What does the abundance of channels
mean for the contact between actors and citizens? How do different types
of actors benefit or suffer from the changes in media technologies and

• Political journalism: How does the emerging communicative abundance
shift power relations between elite sources and journalists? What are
the emerging trends in professional political journalism? Are new
developments articulated in different ways in different contexts and

• Political content: What formats and genres are political? How are
different formats and genres adapted to networked politics? What is the
impact of particular political issues — such as immigration, the
environment, or security/terrorism — on the forms and dynamics of
political communication? How are issues politicised in the transnational
and hybrid public sphere?

• Political processes: What signifies political communication in
networked societies? What is the significance of “connective action”
(Bennett & Segerberg 2013) for political communication? Is there a new
role for “affective publics” (Papacharissi 2014) and emotions in
political processes? Does the “hybrid media system” (Chadwick 2013) mean
shifts in communicative power? How are communication strategies in
election campaigns changing? What new roles do social movements play in
particular political processes — and how do they function?

• Mediation and mediatization of politics: A wide body of recent
literature has been working on the mediatization of politics — also in
relation to new media. How does mediatization research contribute to the
understanding of the structural and institutional changes in media and
politics and, thus, in political communication?

Please send an extended abstract of 500–600 words to volume editor
Professor Eli Skogerbø (

_Deadline for abstract submission: 1 April 2016_

Notification to authors: 15 April 2016

Final article submission: 1 September 2016

Publication: Spring 2017

Additional information about the journal is available on the Intellect
Press website:,id=143/view,page=2/

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