CfP: Online Collective Action and Policy Change. Special Issue of Policy and Internet. Guest Editors Andrea Calderaro (PhD, European University Institute) and Anastasia Kavada (PhD, University of Westminster)

Policy and Internet, the first major peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary journal investigating the impact of the internet on public policy, is inviting submissions for a special issue on ‚Online Collective Action and Policy Change‘, to be published in January 2013 (paper deadline: 31 March 2012). The journal is edited by the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) for the Policy Studies Organization (PSO).

The Internet has created a new interface between collective action and policy making: it opens new channels for social coordination and mobilisation, and it offers multiple platforms from where to influence public opinion and policy makers. The recent wave of protests that has swept authoritarian regimes like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, but also western liberal democracies like Greece, Spain, and the UK, offers new empirical evidence of the impact that online interactions and information exchange can have on policy making.

In addition to these recent instances of contentious politics, advocacy and grassroots groups are increasingly using online technologies to empower local communities and direct change in the policies that most affect them. And issues at the heart of online governance, like Internet regulation, are motivating many collective efforts directed to shaping file-sharing policies, free software, or digital communication rights.

This special issue calls for academic papers reporting novel empirical research on how online collective action drives policy change, in any of its ramifications. This includes topics such as:

  • The coordination of protests and mobilisations using online technologies, and their impact on public opinion and policy making.
  • The mechanisms through which online collective action grows and diffuses, and how or when they trigger a policy reaction.
  • The impact of online activity on issue salience, and the responsiveness of policy makers.
  • The interplay between online collective action and the offline policy cycle, or how policy makers deal with new sources of instability and disruption.

This list of topics is not exhaustive, and other questions related to online collective action and its impact on policy making will be considered.

Please visit the website of the Oxford Internet Institute for details.