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Call for literature reviews for a special issue of Nordicom Review

Call for papers
 | 20 September 2023
Nordicom invites authors to submit extended abstracts for a special issue of Nordicom Review. The Call is for literature reviews of research on media communication and journalism and their dependence and influence on democracy. Proposals should include relevance for the Nordic region.

Preliminary title:
What do We Know about Media, Communication, Journalism, and Democracy?

Editors:
Magnus Fredriksson, Nordicom, magnus.fredriksson@nordicom.gu.se
Johannes Bjerling, Nordicom, johannes.bjerling@nordicom.gu.se 

Important dates:

  • Deadline for extended abstracts: 9 February 2024
  • Invitation to submit full paper: 26 February 2024
  • Deadline for full submissions: 27 September 2024
  • Peer review: October 2024 and onwards 
  • Expected publication: Early autumn 2025
     

Background and aim

Media, communication, and journalism are important elements of a well-functioning democracy, and at the same time a well-functioning democracy is in many ways a condition for dynamic media systems, independent journalism, and the rights to communicate freely and access information freely.

In response to this, research on media, communication, and journalism has always been focused on matters related to democracy – though all scholars don’t neccessarily put democracy at the forefront. However, irrespective of knowledge interest, theoretical position, or methodological approach, scholars interested in media use or effects, public discourses, media technologies, journalism, public opinion, or organised communication activities have frequently motivated their research with its implications and importance for politics and democracy. Accordingly, researchers of media, communication, and journalism have a long history of bringing important knowledge to society. 

Recent developments in research with higher levels of specialisation and a strong tendency towards compartmentalisation have made it difficult to gain thorough overviews of the knowledge developments in research. This is a shortcoming that not only affects scholars’ abilities to gain valid overviews of their research domains, but it also influences the research community’s abilities to provide substantiated knowledge to society and to be policy relevant. 

In tandem with recent developments in media systems, the circumstances for media production, the developments of communication technologies, and value transformations in the citizenry have increased the need for qualified and reliable knowledge. Particulary in a time when democracy is contested and contentious issues demand purposeful systems for knowledge distribution as well as arenas for open and inclusive public debates.

Bringing all this together, there is a call for scholars who will take responsibility for the collection, consolidation, and distribution of knowledge regarding media, communication, journalism – and democracy. This can be done in different ways, but to systematically produce and publish comprehensive and reliable research reviews is one that evidently can contribute to the research community, public debate, and policy formation. 

For Nordicom, it is of relevance to provide a platform for this kind of work and to actively distribute it. To promote democratic values is part of our mission, and another is to actively contribute to the supply of science-based knowledge in media policy processes in the Nordic region. Thereby, our activities and publications aim to strengthen and highlight Nordic perspectives in international media research. Here, Nordicom has a unique position at the interface between academia, industry, and politics and between Nordic and international levels.

Topics

The theme for the special issue is media, communication, and/or journalism, with emphasis on matters relevant for democracy. We aim for a collection of articles with a clear relevance for contemporary democracy in the Nordic region, and we will give priority to papers with a broader approach rather than a review with focus on a single theory or similar. The articles are expected to answer the question “What do we know about X?” The topics may include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • The effects of journalism, campaigns, and other forms of communication on voting behaviour, political participation, or other forms of political activities among the citizenry. 
  • Openness and secrecy among actors with democratic relevance, including public administrations, corporations, and nongovernmental organisations. 
  • Populism, racism, misogyny, polarisation, and disintegrative aspects of media, communication, and journalism. 
  • Practices and discourses of disinformation, manipulation, and propaganda in public debates, journalism, and other contexts. 
  • Communication activities, activism, advocacy, and strategies to gain political influence. 
  • Journalism and communication in times of crises.  
  • Institutional, professional, and organisational conditions for the production of media, communication, and journalism. 
  • The role of and conditions for public service as well as local, national, and international media systems. 
  • The technological, political, and economic, conditions for the production, distribution, and consumption of media, communication, and journalism. 
  • Media literacy and the knowledge and abilities among the citizenry to gain, validate, and make use of information they gain in digital and analogue contexts.  
  • The role of media, communication, and journalism in creating, maintaining, and disrupting trust for the institutions of democracy, including media, political actors, public administrations, and actors in civil society. 
  • Censorship, regulation, and the autonomy of journalism. 
  • The role of media, communication, and journalism in creating and maintaining (dis)integration in multicultural contexts  

The Nordic perspective

The Nordic perspective implies that the articles should focus on an issue or a theme that is relevant given the conditions and circumstances that characterise democracy in the Nordic region as a whole or individual countries in the region. That is to say, the Nordic perspective doesn’t mean that the overviews should be limited to research conducted by scholars in the Nordic region or limited to research focusing on the Nordic region. The Nordic relevance is to be made explicit and discussed in the article.

Types of reviews

There are a number of different types of literature reviews – from highly formalised methods that seek to systematically search for, appraise, and synthesise research evidence to less-formalised approaches which provide assessments of current literature regarding a theme or domain. 

For this issue, we welcome all types of reviews, but we expect all to focus on empirical research. In addition, all contributions must include a discussion regarding the following:

  • Search strategies and an argument for why certain keywords and sources have been included or excluded throughout the search process.
  • Selection criteria and a discussion of what material the authors have decided to include and exclude in the review.
  • An overall assessment of the overview’s quality, strengths, and shortcomings. 

Procedure

Those with an interest in contributing should write an extended abstract (max. 750 words excluding references) where the subject is described. In addition to this, the abstract should include a discussion about how the article fits with the overall theme, how the Nordic perspective is made relevant, and what type of review the authors will apply.

Send your extended abstract by 9 February 2024 to editors@nordicom.gu.se and include in the subject line: “Submission to special issue”.

Scholars invited to submit a full manuscript (6,000–8,000 words excluding references) will be notified by e-mail after the abstracts have been assessed. All submissions should be original works and must not be under consideration by other publishers.

Contact

Questions about the special issue and the related workshop can be addressed to Magnus Fredriksson: magnus.fredriksson@nordicom.gu.se.

About Nordicom Review

Nordicom Review adheres to a rigorous double-blind reviewing policy, and articles are published Open Access with no processing charges for authors. Nordicom Review includes research with relevance for the Nordic context and welcomes interdisciplinary submissions from a worldwide authorship.

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