Call for papers: Epistemic contestations in hybrid media environments

Popular communication: The international journal of media and culture

Guest Editors: Katja Valaskivi (University of Helsinki, Finland), David G. Robertson (The Open University, UK) & Patrick Burkart (Texas A&M University, USA)

June 21, 2021

The aim of this special issue is to explore how a multiplicity of competing epistemologies interact and compete in the “post-Truth” marketplace of ideas in online popular communication. We invite contributions to a special issue on the intersections of popular communication, disinformation, and misinformation. We are especially interested in how popular communication can challenge and even upend traditional and inherited belief systems and knowledge regimes in religion, politics, fandom, and other institutions.

As traditional ideologies and other thought regimes collapse and new ones arise, recent scholarship has examined the contributions of digitalization and datafication of popular communication that contest older communitarian worldviews (e.g. Fuller, 2020). The internet has augmented collective understandings of the world but also undermined a broader sense of belonging, while enabling a new scope of contestation over “epistemic capital” (Robertson, 2016, 2021). In popular communication, especially, the social construction of meaning and worldviews is more manipulable than ever through disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.

We welcome submissions exploring epistemic contestations through conceptual, methodological, and empirical approaches. Possible topic areas include (but are not limited to):

  • conspiracy theories
  • terrorism
  • fandom
  • science communication
  • propaganda
  • identity politics
  • nationalism
  • affect
  • new religions / “cults”
  • New Atheism
  • the “Intellectual Dark Web”

The special issue will invite individual submissions on the basis of approved abstracts. To submit an abstract for consideration, please email an MS Word document of no more than 500 words with author information to Katja Valaskivi ( and cc: using the subject header, “Epistemic contestations special issue.” The deadline for receiving abstracts is October 1, 2021. Invited manuscripts of no more than 7,000 words (inclusive) must be submitted by January 1, 2022 to receive a double-blind review. Only papers accepted for publication will be published.


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