Call for Abstracts: Mediaflows Conference ’24: Citizenship in the Digital Media Sphere

The contestation among various political and social entities to exert control over communication channels within the public sphere encompasses the manipulation of agenda-setting and the domains in which such discourse transpires. This contention is exacerbated within the contemporary milieu characterised by a surplus of content, predominantly disseminated through electronic mediums, and public attention often indifferent to the criterion of informational quality. Regardless of their professional status, the purveyors of these messages—be they verified, misrepresented, or intentionally false—vie for the attention of identical audiences (Bennett & Livingston, 2022). Digital platforms have significantly augmented the accessibility, visibility, and sway of social, political, and institutional actors within and beyond the confines of political communication. Meanwhile, traditional media, having also staked a claim within this hybrid environment (Chadwick, 2013), are experiencing a partial erosion of their influence over public opinion (Bennett & Iyengar, 2008). Within this paradigm, the strategic manoeuvres of incumbent and oppositional political leaders are profoundly shaped by the evolving dynamics of public expression and social discourse. These dynamics encompass a multitude of actors, effects, and communicative processes, collectively contributing to the intricate tapestry of public opinion (López García, 2017).

Political communication necessitates alignment with the prevailing societal issues and sensitivities that citizens seek to address or resolve. Public opinion does not materialise spontaneously but rather necessitates leadership both from above—within the political and power echelons—and from below —manifested through social entities such as groups, movements, or associations— (Grossi, 2007). Historically, the media assumed the responsibility of curating, accentuating, and directing attention towards specific topics, perspectives, and controversies, thereby shaping public discourse. Furthermore, they played a pivotal role in promoting, bolstering, framing, interpreting, and guiding certain concepts and symbols, subsequently becoming focal points for public deliberation and negotiation. However, with the advent of communicative capitalism (Dean, 2005), the centrality of social networks has engendered a diversification in the functions of the media, leading towards the emergence of a post-media public sphere (López García, 2022). Consequently, there has been a discernible attenuation in the traditionally mediating role of broadcasters, accompanied by a reconfiguration of the roles assumed by various social and political actors within the communication realm.

In this milieu, formerly confined to a predominantly passive role, citizens now assume a multifaceted position characterised by their engagement in the reception, generation, exchange, and dissemination of diverse forms of information (Calvo & Campos, 2021). The transition from passive audiences has led to scholarly inquiries reevaluating citizen involvement within the digital media sphere. This paradigm shift has given rise to various phenomena, notably, mobilisations catalysed by expressions of indignation and outrage (Killen, 2023). Through digital communication channels, such mobilisations validate experiences originating from peripheral public spheres, thereby acquiring the potential to permeate broader societal discourse, as exemplified by the phenomenon of angry voters. Conversely, a burgeoning segment of the populace increasingly shuns traditional news sources, gravitating instead toward entertainment products that espouse political fandom and epitomise pop politics (Mazzoleni, 2019).

This conference endeavours to juxtapose traditional and emerging manifestations of political leadership, strategy, and agenda-setting within a contemporary milieu characterised by intense competition for public attention and ideological filtration. Notably, social media platforms have assumed a pivotal role as conduits for disseminating and discussing political information in recent years. The overarching objective is to foster discourse that critically examines the intricate interplay between these spheres in political communication.

The structured program envisages the active participation of scholarly experts specialising in this domain alongside pertinent representatives from the political and social arenas. Beyond merely scrutinising the interconnections between the agendas of diverse stakeholders and the traditionally ascribed hegemony of mass media—both traditional and digital—the conference aspires to comprehend the underlying mechanisms driving the clash of interests and socio-political forces as reflected in their thematic priorities and dynamics within the public domain. Moreover, the conference seeks to delve into controversies emerging across various spheres of societal life (Palau & López-García, 2022).

Thematic lines:

  • The role of the public in the digital media sphere.
  • Participatory democracy and audience democracy.
  • Social activism in the digital era.
  • New opinion leaders and their impact on public discourse.
  • Theoretical approaches to citizen participation.
  • Building the public agenda in the digital environment.
  • Radicalisation, extremism and anti-democratic threats.
  • Challenges of media intermediation.
  • Social and political consequences of polarisation.
  • Information disorder and journalism deterioration.

Important Dates:

  • Deadline for abstract submissions: February 21st to May 15th.
  • Notification of accepted/rejected papers: June 1st.
  • Final program release: June 15th.
  • Dates of the conference: from 18 to 20 September.

Abstract Submission Guidelines:

  • Abstracts (max 500 words) in Word format, including title and keywords.
  • Must align with at least one thematic line.
  • Accepted in Valencian/Catalan, Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
  • Anonymous evaluation process.


  • Fee: 120 euros; reduced rate of 80 euros for pre-doctoral students and unemployed researchers.
  • The conference provides two grants for pre-doctoral researchers, covering travel, accommodation, and registration fees.
  • Attendance and presentation registration is mandatory. Certificates will be issued bearing the signatures of all paper authors, contingent upon their presentation of research at the congress.


Accepted papers may be submitted for evaluation to contribute to a monograph in an indexed journal or a book by a leading publisher.Call for abstracts: Mediaflows Conference ’24: Citizenship in the Digital Media Sphere