Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture (Volume 8, Issue 3 - Fall 2017)
Societies in Flux: Media, Democratisation, and Political Socialization

Guest Editors: Nael Jebril (Bournemouth University), Matthew Loveless (Center for Research and Social Progress), and Jamie Matthews (Bournemouth University)

Call for Papers (also attached)

Issue 8.3 of Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture (Fall 2017) seeks to compile an empirically-based understanding of the role of media in countries in transition as it relates to individuals’ political attitudes, values, and behaviour.

There is a corpus of work across several disciplines such as political science, mass and political communication, anthropology, and sociology on political socialisation. However, they have not coalesced into an understanding – much less a theoretical body of knowledge - of individual political socialization via traditional and new media in periods of national change.

One reason for this is the depth of each of these fields given that the wide swath of potential media (i.e.: television news, electoral campaigns, social media, public radio, inter alia) and potentially related political outcomes (personal efficacy, voting, political knowledge, etc.) interact in a variety of contexts. In particular, the context of democratization shifts the (theoretical) ground under the feet of existing theories by blurring the distinction between private and public media, motivations for individuals’ media consumption, and the debut of the new technologies of social media in a world dominated by traditional print and broadcast media theories. Thus, the assumptions underpinning well-established theories of the West find little firm ground.

Media scholars must confront the troublesome reality that elements of both democracy and authoritarianism coexist in countries in transition. In this context, the simple and normative assumption of a positive relationship between changes in the quantity and quality of information sources (and the expansion of freedom of expression) and successful democratic socialization can be misleading. Investigations into media effects (at the individual level) may find the formation and change of individuals’ attitudes a more fertile area of research as well as one that is more closely related to democratisation theory.

This requires a break away from deductive approaches. We should stop thinking about the media in terms of static, traditional models which are inadequate for explaining the dynamic processes of democratisation. We may well need more inductive research that is theory-generating rather than theory-testing. Put slightly differently, there is a need to enhance our knowledge about the dynamics of media audiences in transitional contexts. Studies need to enhance our understanding of how information-seeking behaviour and/or preferences for political information consumption are affected by rapid changes to political and information environments and how audiences make sense of complex media transformations that accompany political transitions. This may require integrating theories of non-mechanical media effects and democratisation in order to shed light on the relationship between individuals’ media behaviour and choices and the subsequent take-up of democratic values following regime changes. Therefore, meaningful research will likely explore media use, contextualise analyses that are conducted at various levels (cross-nationally or ideally with times series/panel data), and be open - if not responsive - to the grey areas of inductive feedback that are likely in countries and societies in transition.


We seek empirical and theoretical answers to the following questions:

1.  How does regime change affect audience’s reliance on and perceptions of news media?

2. How do individuals’ media consumption change during democratic transitions? What do they consume and to what political effect?

3. What are the most likely political outcomes for individuals – i.e. values and attitudes - to be affected by media during transition?

4.  What is the role of international media in fomenting, encouraging, or catalysing public support for democratization?

5. Are there individual-level differences in media choice consumption and/or effects across democratizing, transitioning, or post-authoritarian contexts?

6. To what extent and how do the internet and social media influence the role of traditional media in democratization?

7. Ultimately, to what extent does the success of democratic political socialization require – genuinely require – a free media? Is there empirical support for the necessity of free media – the new marketplace of ideas - in the normative theory of democratization?

8. How effective are the internet and social media in influencing the development of individuals’ democratic attitudes, values, and behaviour?

Further details on the general state of research on media and change for democracy can be found at:


Submission guidelines

Prospective authors should submit an abstract not exceeding 250 words directly by email to:

Nael Jebril ( and Matthew Loveless  ( by 23 September 2016.

Please include your name, affiliation and contact details in all correspondence.

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and authors will be notified about the outcome of the review by

7 October 2016.

A selection of authors will be invited to submit a full paper (from 6000 to 8000 words) due on 15 January 2017.

Full paper submissions are to be original, scholarly manuscripts that follow the journal’s submission guidelines


-formatted according to Intellect House Style guidelines 

-sent in Microsoft Word .doc/.docx format ONLY as e-mail attachments to and

All submissions will be peer-reviewed and the issue is scheduled for publication in Fall 2017 (November).

Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture is published by Intellect and is online at,id=165/

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If you would like to contribute an article or a review, please send a brief outline to Mick Gowar, principal editor, at  
The final deadline for finished articles will be Wednesday, 28 September. 

Download the CfP here.
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