#callfor Social Media’s Role in Political and Societal Mobilization (Media and Communication)

Date(s) - 15/09/2022
Todo el día

Media and Communication


+ info: Media and Communication

Driven by digitalization, the way political parties and social movements mobilize partisans and stakeholders has changed substantially. Social media have become one of the main channels to inform, interact with, and mobilize citizens. As a result, the use of communication channels, communication styles, and contents as well as organizational structures of parties and movements themselves have changed. Visual content—like memes or videos—has become more important. New political actors like populist parties, social movements, or so-called new civics have entered the political stage in many countries around the world. Micro-targeting, inauthentic user behavior, and the automation of the distribution of political messages influence how citizens perceive politics. Our thematic issue closes research gaps by inviting studies focusing on the role of social media in political and societal mobilization by established political actors such as parties and politicians but also social movements and new civics. Therefore, it focuses on the goal-directed use of platforms, contents, and mechanisms of distribution, including the strengths and possibilities of digital campaigns. However, it does not ignore the risks and dangers by also inviting works on mobilization by means of the intentional spreading of false information, conspiracy narratives, or the dysfunctionalities of algorithms and mismanagement by platforms. The thematic issue aims at contributing to a broader scientific understanding of the political implications of digitalization for political and societal mobilization and insights into how digital instruments could promote or hinder democratic development. Submissions might address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • Which mobilization strategies do different political actors and/or movements use, and which differences and similarities can be identified between different countries and political strands?
  • (How) do mobilization efforts of social movements and political parties complement or substitute each other?
  • How do left- and right-wing online activism differ (from other forms of online activism, e.g., that of centrist actors and/or green parties and movements)?
  • How does (micro-targeted) online advertising influence citizens’ willingness to participate in political processes?
  • Under which circumstances does “hashtag activism” become impactful?
  • Under which circumstances does online activism lead to “slacktivism” and when and how is it more impactful?