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Share your Research

with Social Movement Studies

Abstract Deadline: 30 April 2020  |  Deadline: 30 November 2020 

Special Issue Editors

Stefania Milan, DATACTIVE, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam

[email protected]

Davide Beraldo, DATACTIVE, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam

[email protected]

Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Loughborough University, UK

[email protected]

Social Movement Studies

Visit Journal Articles

Contentious Data:

The social movement society in the age of datafication

Datafication is changing the conditions under which contemporary social movements operate, opening up new terrains of contention. As a result, grassroots initiatives in the realm of data activism, data justice, algorithmic accountability and/or resistance to mass surveillance mushrooms in liberal and authoritarian regimes alike. These initiatives vary by scale, organizational forms, tactics, political visions and technological imaginaries. They may take data “as repertoires”, whereby data and data-based tactics are mobilized as constituents of innovative tactics, or “as stakes”, that is to say issues or objects of political struggle in their own right. However, they share an emphasis on the contentious politics of data.

While many instances of the contentious politics of data have come under the spotlight of specialists of digital politics and culture, social movement scholars are only starting to investigate the consequences of datafication on organized collective action. Yet datafication represents a paradigm change able to radically transform “social movement society”, urging social movements scholars to reflect on how it intersects with known social movement dynamics.

This Special Issue invites scholars of social movements and critical data studies to engage with i) case studies and ii) theoretical reflections illustrating the evolution of collective action vis-à-vis datafication. We are particularly interested in (interdisciplinary) theory development: fostering a dialogue across disciplinary boundaries, the Special Issue wants to bring the question of datafication -broadly defined -to bear on social movement scholarship, with the ambition of addressing what has been to date a “blind spot” in social movement literature, and cross-fertilizing disciplinary fields that have long remained disconnected.

Consequently, we welcome papers (max 8,000 words) engaging with the following:

  • Unfamiliar empirical cases of: social movements’ critical engagement with the datafication agenda (e.g., Hong Kong activists dismantling lamp posts with surveillance cameras); creative incorporation of data-based practices and tactics in social movements’ repertoires (e.g., citizen-led collection of pollution data); social movements engaging in struggles around data issues (e.g., algorithmic accountability); examples of conflation between data as constituents of action repertoires and data as a contentious issue in its own right.

  • Theoretical perspectives on, for instance, data activism, data justice, artificial intelligence, the relation between protest and social structures in the age of datafication, etc. as they intersect social movements and collective action processes, concepts, and research questions.

  • Theoretical contributions on, e.g., the relation between data and the means-ends continuum in social movements, oriented to theory development in the field of social movement studies.

Looking to Publish your Research?

We aim to make publishing with Taylor & Francis a rewarding experience for all our authors. Please visit our Author Services website for more information and guidance, and do contact us if there is anything we can help with!

Submission Instructions

We invite the submission of structured extended abstracts (800-1000 words). Abstracts should be sent to [email protected] no later than 30 April 2020. The outcome of the selection process will be notified no later than 15 May 2020. Prospective authors will be given the option to participate in a paper development workshop held at the University of Amsterdam in the last week of August (tentative date). All papers will be subjected to double-blind peer review. 

Full paper submission (original articles of no more than 8.000 words) is due on 30 November 2020.

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