CFP: Contextual Complexities of Violence on Digital Platforms

Special Issue for New Media & Society

Guest Editors:
Tom Divon, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Nour Halabi, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
Martin Lundqvist, Lund University, Sweden
Esteban Morales, University of British Columbia, Canada

The world now seems more fraught with violence than ever, intricately interwoven into the fabric of our contemporary digital ecosystem. The escalating accessibility and ubiquity of digital platforms across the globe have facilitated a corresponding rise in the frequency of violence perpetrated through diverse infrastructural channels. So far, studies have observed a growing prevalence of violence executed on and through digital platforms. For example, research has emphasized that platform affordances like Feeds and DMs provide perpetrators with new avenues to exert control, intimidate, surveil, and harass women (Dragiewicz et al., 2018; Jane, 2014). Others have shown how audiovisual memes can be manipulated to expand and reproduce hate speech (Matamoros-Fernández et al., 2023), along with studies exploring the distressing psychological repercussions experienced by users exposed to content featuring real-world violence (Stubbs et al., 2022). Undoubtedly, digital environments have emerged as spaces that simultaneously sustain and expand intersecting forms of symbolic violence, including racism (Jakubowicz, 2017) and gender inequality (Cepeda,
2018). They have also become battlegrounds for countering and contesting forms of material and cultural violence, such as anti-racist efforts and police accountability (Lamont-Hill, 2018), as well as digital mobilization to advocate for differently-abled individuals (Mann, 2018).

Within this broad context, this special issue strives to enhance the understanding of the diverse forms, actors, and perceptions associated with online violence, serving as a crucial stride toward cultivating a healthier digital landscape. Specifically, as advocated by Dwyer (2017), we wish to emphasize the importance of contextualizing violent behavior and content within their respective cultural and historical frameworks. This call for contextualized understandings of violence arises at a time when addressing online harm necessitates a multifaceted approach, encompassing political, technical, and social dimensions, to effectively navigate the intricacies of local cultures. This significance is highlighted by
Schoenebeck et al. (2023), underscoring the pivotal role of local culture as the foremost determinant of how individuals perceive violence on digital platforms. In this context, nuanced examinations of digital violence are indispensable for crafting fitting responses to the multifaceted ecologies of violence on social media. Therefore, our objective in this issue
is to compile contributions that explore the impact, reach, and various manifestations of online violence as experienced and perceived within specific sociocultural contexts.

Underlying the goal of this call for papers is a desire to engage with scholars who are exploring violence on digital platforms as a cultural experience (Cover, 2022) that reinforces or resists existing power structures (Marwick, 2021; McCosker, 2014). Our call welcomes scholars to delve into the stickiness of mediated violence (Zelinzer, 2023), encouraging
contributions on how online harm can serve as vehicles for both productive and destructive forces within contemporary cultures. We especially encourage interdisciplinary contributions that go beyond definitional or methodological issues around violence on digital platforms and emphasize its social, political, and ethical implications (Jane, 2015) on a global scale, with a particular emphasis on non-Western contexts. Accordingly, we invite submissions that address topics including, but not limited to, the following:

● Perceptions, experiences, and actors involved in the symbiotic relationship of offline and digital violence within various sociocultural contexts.
● Perceptions, experiences, and actors involved in algorithmic violence enacted within specific communities and contextual settings.
● Perpetuation and amplification of symbolic violence through digital platforms.
● Networked violence centered around attacking and revealing the identity of digital personas (e.g., doxxing as a form of violence exacted on minoritized individuals).
● Collective mobilization and contestation to counter material and symbolic violence on digital platforms.
● Escalating endorsement of violence as a method for collective mobilization.
● Digital resistance of platform and algorithmic bias.

Information for authors
Potential contributors should submit a 1,200-word abstract (excluding references), a 100-word bio, and the corresponding author’s contact information to the guest editors. Feel free to consult the special issue editors about your article ideas and potential angles or approaches. After the abstracts have been selected, authors will be invited to submit a full paper. Please note that acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee publication, given that all papers will go through the journal’s peer review process.

Abstract structure
The extended abstract should present a coherent narrative on online violence while highlighting how the authors respond to the special issue call. It must emphasize the distinctive contributions of the study and provide an introduction to the empirical case study being explored. Furthermore, the abstract should outline the research methods employed and provide a clear indication within the findings section of the current stage of the work, whether it is still to be completed, in development, or at the writing phase.

Extended Abstract submission: April 1, 2024
Invited submission notification: May 1, 2024
Full paper submission: November 1, 2024
For any inquiries, please feel free to contact the guest editors’ team at

References list:
Cepeda, M. E. (2018). Putting a “good face on the nation”: Beauty, memes, and the gendered rebranding of global Colombianidad. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 46(1–2), 121–138.
Cover, R. (2022). Digital hostility: Contemporary crisis, disrupted belonging and self-care practices. Media International Australia, 184(1), 79–91.
Dragiewicz, M., Burgess, J., Matamoros-Fernández, A., Salter, M., Suzor, N. P., Woodlock, D., & Harris, B. (2018). Technology facilitated coercive control: Domestic violence and the competing roles of digital media platforms. Feminist Media Studies, 18(4), 609–625.
Dwyer, P. (2017). Violence and its histories: Meanings, methods, problems. History and Theory, 56(4), 7–22.
Jakubowicz, A. H. (2017). Alt_Right white lite: Trolling, hate speech and cyber racism on social media. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 9(3), 41–60.
Jane, E. A. (2014). “You’re an ugly, whorish, slut”: Understanding e-bile. Feminist Media Studies, 14(4), 531–546.
Jane, E. A. (2015). Flaming? What flaming? The pitfalls and potentials of researching online hostility. Ethics and Information Technology, 17(1), 65–87.
Lamont-Hill, M. (2018). “Thank You, Black Twitter”: State Violence, Digital Counterpublics, and Pedagogies of Resistance. Urban Education, 53(2), 286-302.
Marwick, A. E. (2021). Morally motivated networked harassment as normative reinforcement. Social Media + Society, 7(2), 205630512110213.
Matamoros-Fernández, A., Bartolo, L., & Troynar, L. (2023). Humour as an online safety issue: Exploring solutions to help platforms better address this form of expression. Internet Policy Review, 12(1).
McCosker, A. (2014). Trolling as provocation: YouTube’s agonistic publics. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 20(2), 201–217.
Schoenebeck, S., Batool, A., Do, G., Darling, S., Grill, G., Wilkinson, D., Khan, M., Toyama, K., & Ashwell, L. (2023). Online harassment in majority contexts: Examining harms and remedies across countries. Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–16.
Zelizer, B. (2023). Sticky violence. International Journal of Communication, 17, 1383–1389.