[Air-L] [extended deadline] CfP: TikTok and Social Movements Symposium (20Sep.2021)

Jin Lee ljin8788 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 2 00:40:30 PDT 2021

Hello friends at AoIR again!

By popular request, CfP for abstracts has been extended to 06 September
2021 (Monday). Registration for non-presenters will open on 13 September
For more information, please visit our website:

Please read the full Call for Papers in plain text below or here
I am very much looking forward to seeing you at the Symposium!


The recent growing popularity of TikTok has transformed the cultures and
practices of social movements online worldwide. Despite several concerns
towards the app, regarding weak security (Chae, 2020; Dziedzic, 2020),
moral panics incited by malicious content on TikTok (Purwaningsih, 2018)
and some countries’ (temporary) ban on the platform (e.g. Indonesia,
Pakistan, India), TikTok has rapidly grown as the “hottest app of 2020” in
the world (Brigham, 2020). Its functionality (e.g. short-video, voiceover,
meme template, background music, duet, hashtag) and unique genres (e.g.
dance, comedy, social media challenge) have expanded existing social media
cultures and enabled users to engage with other users, social issues, and
even misinformation and online toxicity with ease and fun.

As part of such cultural moves, TikTok users establish their vernacular
cultures and find their meaningful use of the platform by leading or
participating in various types of movements for global awareness, social
change, and civic politics. This includes Young TikTok users’ climate
activism (Hautea et al., 2021); Growing anti-racist movements, such as the
continuation of “Black Lives Matter” on TikTok (Janfaza, 2020; Richardson,
2020); and emerging hashtag streams like #StopAsianHate in response to
increasing violence against Asians in the pandemic (Hanson, 2021).

The affordances of TikTok provide room for creativity with music and
filters powered by AI technologies, which facilitates the formulation of
identity politics and cultures. Recent examples include Young Indian
women’s lip-syncing to Bollywood songs against the caste system
(Subramanian, 2021); LGBTQI+ users’ use of various filters to advocate for
diversity (Simpson & Semaan, 2021); Young users’ meme cultures (Zeng &
Abidin, 2021) as consciousness building work (Anderson & Keehn, 2020;
Literat & Kligler-Vilenchik, 2019); Older generations’ collaboration with
younger generations (Hood, 2020). However, social movements on TikTok are
not always specifically targeted towards social justice, but may often also
advocate for specific beliefs that mirror global politics, such as
Anti-vaccine movements and distribution of misinformation (Basch et al.,
2021); Far-right movements (Weimann & Masri, 2020).

Focusing on the newly emerging cultures on TikTok, scholars in Media
Studies, Communication Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology also have begun
to develop “TikTok Studies”, looking for instance at emergent meme cultures
on TikTok (Zeng & Abidin, 2021; Zeng et al., 2020; Zulli & Zulli, 2020),
TikTokers as new types of internet celebrities (Abidin, 2021), users’ music
practices (Kaye et al., 2021), the emergence of new teenage pop culture (De
Leyn et al., 2021), online learning on TikTok (Li et al., 2021; Literat,
2021), novel methodologies for TikTok (Schellewald, 2021), and the newly
emerging geopolitics around the app (Gray, 2021).

In response to this expansion of scholarship on TikTok and alongside the
TikTok Cultures Research Network’s ethos to cultivate diversity and equity
in academic scholarship, we will be holding a one-day online Symposium (on
Zoom) to showcase emergent research on the potentials, promises, pitfalls,
and parameters of such social movements on TikTok. The Symposium seeks to
provide a meaningful opportunity to reflect on the evolving cultures and
practices around the civic and social movements on TikTok, wherein various
actors on the platform across the globe advocate for social justice and
specific values, develop grassroots networks and resources, and engage with
others. We invite submissions on themes that include, but are not limited

• Politics, digital circulation, and/or economies of movements on TikTok
• Online activism, campaigns, and protest on TikTok
• Intersections of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, and more on TikTok
• Emerging TikTok practices and communities for advocacy
• Far-right, or alt-right movements on TikTok
• Roles and affordances of the platform technologies in mobilizing movements
• Surveillance of TikTok movements
• Consequences and pitfalls of TikTok movements

HDRs, ECRs (up to 5 years post-PhD + career interruptions), and scholars
in/or from the Global South are strongly encouraged to apply. A selection
of papers will also be considered for inclusion in a Special Issue
tentatively entitled “TikTok and Social Movements” that will be published
in a top-ranked peer-reviewed journal in the field of Media Studies,
Internet Studies, and Communication Studies.

For consideration in this Symposium, please submit abstracts (up to 250
words) on previously unpublished papers and a short bio (up to 100 words)
to TikTok Cultures Research Network (tiktokcultures at gmail.com).

*Key Dates*:

   - *(extended) 06 September 2021* –  Abstracts and biographies due
   - 08 September 2021 – Notifications of acceptance
   - 13 September 2021 – Registration opens for non-presenters
   - 20 September 2021 – TikTok and Social Movements Symposium, tentatively
   1200–1600hrs, GMT+8

We look forward to receiving your submissions! Please contact TikTok
Cultures Research Network (tiktokcultures at gmail.com) with any questions
about this event.

This Symposium is the fourth event organized by the TikTok Cultures
Research Network, an Asia Pacific-based Network dedicated to understanding
and developing qualitative and cultural approaches to studying the impact
of TikTok on society, founded by A/Prof Crystal Abidin and supported by a
network of Founding Members in October 2020. This event is supported by the
Centre for Culture and Technology, and financed by Strategic Investment
funding from the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University.

TikTok and Social Movements team,
Dr Jin Lee, A/Prof Crystal Abidin, and Dr Bondy Kaye

Jin Lee, PhD
Research Fellow, Internet Studies, Curtin University

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