We invite proposals from postgraduate students and early career researchers working on critical, feminist or queer approaches to social media to a two-day workshop. The workshop will involve research presentations (Day 1) and skills sessions on publishing and public engagement (Day 2).
Social media is often considered by political scientists as a digital public sphere, offering new spaces for democratic engagement and collective will-formation. In European and international politics, it is understood to play a key role in facilitating participation in transnational democracy. Despite increasing public attention to online abuse, however, the experiences of traditionally marginalised groups have been insufficiently explored. Women and people of other marginalised genders often receive misogynistic, highly sexualised and often racialised messages when engaging in democratic debate. Such forms of gendered and racialised online violence can be considered a form of ‘participatory inequality’. Social media nevertheless offers opportunities for resistance through what Nancy Fraser terms subaltern counter-publics, in which minoritized people can seek support and mobilise. Yet, such online spaces are not automatically safe for everyone: Trans women and gender non-conforming people face particular risks in spaces dominated by cis people. Likewise, women and gender non-conforming people of colour experience racism in spaces dominated by white people. Despite this, there has been little intersectional research to date about the extent, nature, and implications of such patterns of exclusion for democratic participation.
We invite contributions that explore the experiences of traditionally marginalised groups on social media, with priority given to those that look intersectionally at the experiences of trans women, nonbinary, agender and gender‐variant people, Black, migrant, minority women, LGBTQ+, working class, or disabled people, and people who experience multiple forms of marginalization along these axes. We are also particularly interested in interdisciplinary contributions including those that go beyond mainstream social media methodologies, including creative, participatory, ethnographic or arts-based approaches. Proposals for contributions of a maximum of 15 minutes may take the form of work-in-progress research papers or creative or non-traditional presentations. We hope to put together a journal special issue proposal as an outcome of the workshop.
The workshop is intended to be hybrid, taking place in person at the University of Birmingham, Covid-measures permitting, but with the option of online participation as well. Funds are available to cover travel and accommodation in Birmingham.