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Advanced digital, communication and activism

Status: Closed

Organisation: Chaire Unesco PETCD

Deadline: 30/04/2023

Location: Global

We are now part of an ecosystem where digital technologies and social networks are the core of communication. Advanced digital, in particular, along with artificial intelligence, have promoted what is known as civic tech; technologies aimed at improving democratic participation. This is how collective mobilizations in public space are often the result of actions undertaken within social networks (calls for demonstrations, denunciations, demands, etc.) and the urban space becomes an organic extension of what is going viral on digital platforms. Media exposure produces another way of confronting the reality and offers the possibility of establishing an identity relationship with the environment. Promoting the constitution of a place of belonging stamped by the vision carried by technology. At the same time, collective action provisions a technology that participates in the way of communicating, informing and interacting. So, with digital networks, the protest movements have a means and a place for public mobilization. Despite this, they are also taking to the streets in protest, the actors come and go or they occupy the places in which protest movements become audible and visible, with messages, texts, images and videos posted on social media, as well as on mass media. However, communicational logics, practices of public protest, sound and visual experiences, technical community of activism and public actions, open up for questions that are important for research in communication, technologies and social sciences. In this way, by social movements, the expected contributions may relate to the use of digital technologies, particularly advanced digital technologies, and to the role of digital networks action during contemporary activism. In addition to the connected action and collective action, individual and collective expression in media ecosystems and on public actions in urban spaces. The public space, being a space of expression, communication, collective actions, self-affirmation, public mobilization and protest, expectations and existential, political, civic, performative and artistic commitments, issues raised by activists, as well as the repertoires of protest and action adopted by them, at the local, regional or global scale, are study subjects.

Thus, this issue leads to articles that explore the challenges faced by those who do research in the fields of technological mediations and digital networks related to activism, as well as to collective actions and communicational logics in public space and in media ecosystem. Theoretical and empirical contributions are expected, based on different methodologies which can demonstrate the diversity and richness of scientific production in these subjects. As such, the call for papers is running various topics, including those in the following subtitles.

Axis 1. Activism in the network age and advanced digital technology

Techno-communicational devices and digital social media have introduced new communication practices and new methods of collective mobilization, linked in particular to artificial intelligence, which increase interactivity, immediacy, presence (and the immediate present; Han, 2013) and visibility. Through the concept of Civic Tech, appears a variety of mediations and tools (citizen reporting, crowdsourcing, online survey, petitions, consultations, etc.), now widely mobilized by the public. Such phenomena raise several questions relating in particular to the challenges of these new communicational logics. It is therefore interesting to analyze the ongoing transformations that occur during mobilization practices, collective actions modalities, repertoires of action, public actions in the urban space. Research on activism and digital networks can also raise questions such as studying the role that advanced technologies play in the visibility and the visibilization of causes, and under what schemes or modalities. Through the study of empirical cases, we can also analyze whether multimodal communication, (many to many; Castells, 2009) in social networks, coexists with the individualization of communication and with individualized forms of expression and “expressive commitment”, without a framework or union structure (Cardon and Granjon, 2013). Investigating whether digital networks and connected action are place where collective action emerge (Bennett & Segerberg, 2012), and how protest movements use social media and advanced technologies to incite public action in the urban space and also to support causes over time.

Axis 2. Climate activism and commitments inside and outside organizations

Global climate change protests – such as the Global Climate Strike, which has emerged on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and has its website. The Fridays For Future movement, since 2018 – had the participation of millions of young people in many cities around the world. In September 2019, the largest globally coordinated climate protest took place, with collective demands and the formation of a common cause. Not only counting the participation of young people, but also of adults. As a result, the communication and activist dynamics within the framework of the new movements related to ecological problems, lead to questioning the themes and problems under discussion, as well as the repertoires of communication and action regarding the new and traditional social movements. We can also take into consideration identifying and categorizing the actors, knowing their origin or belonging. Besides analyzing their behaviors or their public rituals, trying to find out if they remain committed outside formal organizations (Moor et al., 2020) and what type of participation they have.

Based on the above, the communication issues related to the climate are interesting to examine by trying, in particular, to understand how activists use social media and advanced technologies for the purpose of demands and political and social struggles. knowing if they are putting in place communication strategies at the global, national and local levels; whether global ecological problems are intertwined with local problems (and vice versa). As well as if there is a formation of a common cause, concerning the defense of the planet; whether new conceptions of environmental rights are being spread; if public mobilizations for the climate, and for “climate justice”, interlace with other problems, in an intersectional way, such as colonialism, patriarchy or poverty and if, in these cases, there is an expansion of their support base.

Critical thinking, in-depth and comparative research, and case studies are most wanted for these topics.


  • Submission of proposals in the form of resumes: 30 April 2023
  • Response to the authors of selected proposals: 20 May 2023
  • Submission of the full paper: 20 June 2023
  • Return to authors of peer review: 15 July 2023
  • Return of final articles (reviewed after evaluation): 20 August 2023
  • Publication of the issue: 30 September 2023


Proposals for articles must be submitted in the form of an abstract in French, Spanish, Portuguese or English: 7,000 characters maximum, including spaces and bibliography. Titles and keywords are requested in two or three languages (the language of the text, French, English). The proposals will be evaluated in double blind by members of the scientific community.

The writing guidelines for the article are available at journals.openedition.org/ctd/1132.

Paper proposals should be sent to: isabel@ulp.pt; luis.claudio.ribeiro@ulusofona.pt

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