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December 14th 2018

Special Issue

Understanding and Mapping New Digital Landscapes

There has been a considerable volume of work which has sought to understand the way in which users of digital systems make sense of them and how they may (or may not) meet their needs, in areas such as health (Nettleton et al. 2005; Koh, et al., 2013; Record et al., 2018), political agency and civic engagement (Vromen et al., 2016) the emergence of forms of ‘digital labour’ (Scholz, 2012), and the broader role of social media and other platforms (Beer, 2017). There has also been work that has examined the online social world as providing a new space through which socio-political and cultural identities can be refashioned, especially in response to relatively strong and explicit localised forms of control, as in China (Chen, 2013) where the virtual, performative national identity can be fashioned (see also Mikula, 2003). More generally, the offline/online relationship has been a common and core theme of social science analysis of the digital. This has led to calls for new approaches to and methodologies that enable better understanding of the engagement with and use of web-based platforms ( e.g. Allgaier and Svalastog 2015) and for a new ethical framework to oversee it (e.g. Aicardi et al., 2018).

These issues have been explored through a recently established research network under the rubric of Navigating Knowledge Landscapes which has been especially focused on these issues as they apply to the domain of health and health-seeking behaviour via the web. This Special issue provides an opportunity to broaden and deepen the empirical and conceptual scope and in particular to interrogate this concept of ‘landscape’ and the dynamics and meanings of ‘knowledge’ and its access, creation, curation and use.

Building on this range of work, this CFP invites papers that focus directly on the meaning and understanding of the digital landscape. In what way does this notion point up new forms of geographical space that carry distinct cultural, economic and political dimensions? The Journal invites papers that address the following issues:

  • Is there a specific digital geography and how can we understand this in terms of digital spaces and their production and co-production?
  • In what ways does the process of navigation create and reproduce specific landscapes and the routes that are taken within the digital space?
  • How does this geography vary by digital arena – e.g. health, finance, housing, political agency?
  • What forms of knowledge do we see emerge within this geography and what wider role does it play within contemporary digital cultures?
  • How do online and offline understandings and forms of knowledge relate to each other?
  • What does it mean to travel within this geography, and how are its landscapes and their digital topographies formed and reformed?
  • Do digital geographies have specific forms of temporality and rhythms that reflect distinctive timescapes?
  • How does the life in the digital landscape work? How is agency acquired and expressed, and how is power established and activated? How are social relations and powers de-constructed and re-constructed? What are the risks? What is the relevance of critical theory?
  • Does the cultural plurality of the digital society represent a new cultural and economic geography?
  • How is gender performed and mediated within digital landscapes?
  • How are classical theories of ‘cyberspace’ relevant to a contemporary mapping of the digital landscape?

Information, Communication & Society

Table of Contents for Information, Communication & Society. List of articles from both the latest and ahead of print issues.

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

Visit Journal Articles

Submission guidelines

We welcome papers that address these or related themes, with the goal of publishing a high quality issue that interrogates and defines the boundaries and performativity of the digital landscape today.

Paper abstracts (250 words max) should be submitted to the corresponding editor by December 14. The Editors will select a number of abstracts for full development as papers before Christmas 2018. Full papers should be submitted by the end of June 2019 for review.

The Special Issue will be published in July 2020.

Editorial team: Anna Lydia Svalastog Østfold University College Norway, Joachim Allgaier
RWTH Aachen University Germany, Andrew Webster SATSU the University of York
UK, Srecko Gajovic, University of Zagreb Croatia.
Corresponding editor: Anna Lydia Svalastog als@hiof.no


  • Aicardi, C, Del Savio L, Dove E, Lucivero F, Tempini, N & B. Prainsack. 2016. “Emerging Ethical Issues Regarding Digital Health Data. On the World Medical Association Draft Declaration on Ethical Considerations Regarding Health Databases and Biobanks.” Croatian Medical Journal, Vol. 57(2).
  • Allgaier, J, and A-L. Svalastog. 2015. The communication aspects of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in Western Africa--do we need to counter one, two, or many epidemics? Croat Med J. Oct;56(5):496-9.
    Beer, D. 2017. The Social Power of Algorithms, Information, Communication & Society 20(1):1-13.
  • Chen, W. 2013. Taking stock, moving forward: the Internet, social networks and civic engagement in Chinese societies, Information, Communication and Society. 17:1, 1-6
  • Koh, H. K., Baur, C, Brach, C, Harris, L.M, and J. N. Rowden. 2013. Towards a System Approach to Health Literacy Research, Guest Editorial, Journal of Health Communication, 18:1-5.
  • Lupton, D. 2015. Digital Sociology, London: Routledge.
  • Mikula. M. 2003. Virtual Landscapes of Memory, Information, Communication & Society, 6:2, 169-186
  • Nettleton, SJ, Burrows, RJ, O'Malley, LJ & Watt, I.S. 2005. Health e-Types?: An Analysis of the Everyday Use of the Internet for Health, Information, Communication and Society, vol 7, no. 4, pp. 531-553.
  • Record, R, Silberman W.R., Santiago J and T. Ham. 2018. I Sought it, I Reddit: Examining Health Information Engagement Behaviours amongst Reddit Users, Journal of Health Communication 23:470-476.
  • Schloz, T. (ed.) 2012. Digital Labour: The internet as Playground and Factory, London: Routledge.
  • Vromen, A, Loader, BD, Xenos, MA & Bailo, F . 2016. Everyday Making through Facebook Engagement: Young Citizens’ Political Interactions in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States' Political Studies, vol 64, no. 3, pp. 513-53

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Editorial information

  • Anna Lydia Svalastog Østfold University College Norway, Joachim Allgaier RWTH Aachen University Germany
  • Andrew Webster SATSU the University of York UK, Srecko Gajovic, University of Zagreb Croatia.
  • Corresponding editor: Anna Lydia Svalastog 

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