[Air-L] Call for abstracts: Open-access book and two-day workshop on vigilant audiences.

Daniel Trottier dan.trottier at gmail.com
Tue Mar 6 23:54:36 PST 2018

Call for abstracts: Vigilant Audiences: Understanding Scrutiny,
Denunciations, and Shaming in Digital Media Use.

(includes link to call PDF)

We are seeking contributors for an open-access edited volume as well as a
two-day workshop in October, on the topic of digital vigilante audiences.
This proposed edited collection concerns media users in terms of their
vigilant engagements with others. By looking at practices in which digital
media users respond to individuals breaching legal and moral boundaries, we
can better understand their motivations, but also the broader conceptual
and societal implications of these practices.

Today’s media landscape allows for scrutiny and intervention in the lives
of others. Conventional outlets such as the press and reality television
are supplemented and even supplanted by digital media users, who can report
and comment on events through any number of mobile applications and other
web-based platforms. They may denounce high-profile crimes, such as
terrorism, sexual abuse, pedophilia, or participation in riots. They may
also target comparatively benign transgressions such as petty theft, bad
parking, or disorderly conduct (whether in embodied public spaces or
online). In some cases, unaffiliated citizens may play a primary role in
breaking a story, for example, by publishing footage of a criminal event to
a public forum. In other cases they may respond to a story that broke
through a public broadcaster, but shape the visibility and public
perception of that story through vitriolic commentary, crowdsourced
information about the perpetrator, among other practices. Contemporary
media systems may be considered as hybrids (Chadwick 2013) in the sense
that journalists and other media actors mobilise and in some cases even
depend on their audiences, who play an active role in ‘making’ a story.
While media scholars talk about news-making assemblages (ibid.), and
criminologists talk about surveillant assemblages in the context of police
scrutiny (Haggerty and Ericson 2000), we may consider the extent to which
any single instance of user-involved vigilantism involves data flows that
implicate both criminological and journalistic spheres.

Vigilantism and shaming as social practices have long histories that
predate digital media. Yet the adoption of services like Twitter, along
with the popularity of populist social news platforms and the ubiquity of
comment sections on news sites means that these practices are accessible to
any user, and may have a lasting impact on the lives of those who have been
targeted. Vigilant media use not only impacts the lives of those who have
been denounced, but also may serve to discipline and otherwise govern over
those who share categorical affiliations (on the basis of gender,
ethnicity, sexual identity, political views, economic status, among others)
and may fear negative repercussions. In other words, mediated vigilance and
shaming may contribute to one’s own self-scrutiny, and may shape everyday
practices and politics of visibility. Research on vigilante movements is
typically concerned with the complexities and contradictions in relations
between states and citizens: one the one hand, citizens seem to operate in
excess of the state, yet they also share similar objectives (ex: ‘safe
streets’) and hegemonic cultural values. This remains the case with digital
media and digital vigilantism, and in addition the relations between media
outlets and media users warrant conceptual and empirical attention.

Contributions to this edited collection will address contemporary digital
media practices involving users both consuming and participating in the
denunciation of other individuals. We welcome scholarship engaged with a
range of (cross-)disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to
sociology, criminology, cultural and media studies. Contributions are not
limited to any national or regional context, and we are especially
interested in cases and contexts that have not received prior scholarly
attention. In particular, we seek chapters that make theoretical and
empirical contributions in response to the following questions:
- What role do audiences play in denunciatory media (ex: tabloid press;
crime-based reality television; populist websites)?
- How do the press portray user-led shaming practices? How might these
representations vary according to social and political context?
- In what ways do established and emerging mediated vigilante practices
shape each other (ex: the relation between Twitter use and journalism, or
between covering a shaming campaign and contributing to it)?
- How might either traditional or entrepreneurial forms of populism
(Fieschi and Heywood 2004) contribute to contemporary denunciatory
- What role might less visible media practices such as ‘listening’ or
‘lurking’ play in mediated shaming, notably in terms of scrutiny or in
terms of composing imagined audiences?
- What role do digital media (including mobile apps, social platforms and
other web-based services) play in scrutiny and denunciation?
- How might scrutiny and denunciatory practices either reinforce or contest
categorical forms of discrimination and violence?
- How might the public (whether in their role as audiences, educators,
parents, guardians, etc.) modify their media use in response to (the
possibility of) public scrutiny, denunciation and harassment?
- What kinds of subject positions are typically invoked in the mediated
representations of outrage (ex: the ‘failson’, diaosi, etc..)

Contributing authors are also invited to participate in a two-day workshop
on this topic in October, to be held in Rotterdam, NL. This will be an
opportunity for authors to present their works in progress and receive
constructive feedback. Modest funds will be able to partly support travel
and accommodation for contributors.

Final versions of chapters should be no longer than 7500 words, including
references and notes. We intend to submit a full proposal to Open Book
Publishers (https://www.openbookpublishers.com/), a nonprofit open-access
publisher that has expressed an interest in this collection.

We are currently seeking extended abstracts of approximately 800 words.
Please send this (following the guidelines below) to Daniel Trottier (
trottier at eshcc.eur.nl) no later than Friday, April 27th, 2018.

Tentative schedule
Extended abstracts due: 27th April 2018
Notification of accepted contributions: 15th May 2018
Workshop in Rotterdam: early October 2018 (exact dates TBA)
First draft of chapters due: 15th December 2018
Feedback on chapters returned: 15th February 2019
Final versions of chapters due: 1st May 2019

Extended abstract structure
In order to be considered, abstracts should adhere to the following
structure (approx. 800 words, please address each aspect separately and
include the specific headlines in your abstract):
- Contribution title
- Full name of the author(s)
- Institutional affiliation(s) and position(s)
- e-mail address(es)
1) Purpose: What are the overall tasks and research questions the chapter
2) Scope: What is the scope of the analysis? This may include a time period
for the analysis, geographic scope, phenomena that are either included or
excluded in the analysis, or particular social spheres and their
3) Method: Which theoretical approaches and empirical research methods are
employed for answering the research questions and attaining the chapter’s
4) Results: What are the main results presented in the paper?
5) Conclusions: What are the main conclusions of the conducted research for
concerned scholarly fields of study?
6) Recommendations: What are the main recommendations for scholarly
research, as well as other concerned actors such as citizens, the press,
digital media platforms and government branches?

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