Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
For a Special Issue on
25 September 2023
01 January 2024
Special Issue Editor(s)
University of Texas at Austin
Meredith L. Pruden,
Kennesaw State University
University of Connecticut
Texas A&M University
New York University
We are delighted to invite submissions for a special issue of Political Communication, titled “Comparative and Systematic Approaches to Multi-Platform Research.” Building on the prior special issue “Studying Politics Across Media” (Bode & Vraga, 2018), we focus on digital platforms, which we conceptualize as online spaces that facilitate social interactions and enable the production, dissemination, and consumption of content and information. The multi-platform nature of our information environment is not entirely new. But the diversity brought about by digital platforms such as social media, forums, blogs, and newsletters elevates this variety to unprecedented levels. This results in a contemporary online public sphere that exists across a complex, hybrid system of (networked) platforms varying in modality, anonymity, engagement features and other affordances.
For political communication researchers, it is especially important to situate these digital platforms within both the information environment and broader socio-political landscapes. Platforms are not only interconnected; they also interact with other mediums within the information environment, and can affect and be affected by social and political processes involving both citizens and elites.
To understand this environment, it is necessary to consider comparative approaches (Matassi & Boczkowski, 2021) that juxtapose platforms and contextualize their uses (Yarchi et al., 2020) and systematic approaches that examine political communication dynamics across platforms (Golovchenko et al., 2020; Lukito, 2020; Lu et al., 2022). We call the former “comparative platform studies” and the latter “cross-platform studies.” Combined, they constitute the two pillars of multi-platform research.
Thus far, political communication literature that compares or connects multiple digital platforms has been piecemeal, primarily using multiple platforms as isolated cases to study other concepts (like disinformation, activism, news consumption, or election campaigns). However, this special issue call aims to move beyond this approach and invite papers that explore broader implications of a highly fragmented digital media landscape for political communication and research. We ask: what is the nature of a complex, fragmented, multi-platform digital ecosystem, how does political communication flow through it, and what are its consequences for politics and society?
This call welcomes both empirical studies using qualitative, quantitative, computational and mixed-methods approaches (inclusive of descriptive and causal studies) and theoretical pieces that have direct applications to multi-platform research. We are interested in contributions from historically underrepresented scholars (e.g., BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other minority scholars; first generation and early career scholars), and submissions that explore understudied regions, platforms, and modalities.
Prospective authors must submit an extended abstract to the guest editors via email no later than September 25, 2023 (all submissions should be made to [email protected]). Prospective authors will be notified approximately two weeks later and selected abstracts will be invited to submit full papers, which are due January 1, 2024. Full papers must adhere to the journal’s submission guidelines and should be no longer than 30 pages, inclusive of abstract, tables, references, and figures. Full paper submissions should be between 6,000 to 8,000 words, including tables, figures, notes and references.
Extended abstracts should consist of no more than 1,000 words (excluding references) and include a working title, brief introduction, purpose of the study (the problem it addresses), theoretical framework(s), method(s) and data, and contribution to the study of multi-platform political communication research. Studies must incorporate at least two digital media platforms. Extended abstracts should explicitly state what platforms are being considered and whether the study takes a comparative, systematic, or combined approach. For questions or more information please contact co-guest editors: [email protected].