Skip down to main content

Call for Papers: Policy and Internet Special Issue on Online Collective Action and Policy Change

Published on
13 Oct 2011
Policy and Internet, the first major peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary journal investigating the impact of the Internet on public policy, invites submissions for a special issue on Online Collective Action and Policy Change to be published in Jan 2013

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 issue Guest Editors are Dr Andrea Calderaro and Dr Anastasia Kavada.

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 contact the editors ( if you have any queries about how your paper might fit in the issue.

Paper Submissions

The online submission deadline for papers is 31 March 2012. Please indicate in the cover letter that the paper is intended for the special issue ‘Online Collective Action and Policy Change’. Authors are advised to consult the journal’s Guide for Authors before submitting their paper.

Authors: Submit your paper now (BEPress login page), or see the Guide for Authors.

About the Guest Editors

Dr Andrea Calderaro holds his PhD from the department of Social and Political Sciences of the European University Institute. After lecturing in “New Media and International Relations” at University La Sapienza, Rome, he is currently a visiting researcher at the University of Oslo. His research interests concern how institutions and people unequally construct the use of ICTs according to their political systems and socio-cultural frameworks. In his publications and current projects he explores new lines of research of the Digital Divide and its relation with politics. He has served as a guest editor of the inaugural issue of the International Journal of E-Politics (IJEP), and as chair of the section on “Internet and Politics” at the European Consortium in Political Research – ECPR General Conference 2011.

Dr Anastasia Kavada is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Westminster. Anastasia’s research interests centre on the relationship between online tools and decentralized organizing practices, democratic decision-making, and the development of solidarity and a sense of common identity among participants in collective action. Her research investigates a wide range of new communication technologies, including social media applications, and their use by protest and advocacy groups, such as Avaaz, 38 Degrees, and Amnesty International. Anastasia has published widely on these issues. Her work has appeared in various edited books and academic journals, including Media, Culture and Society, the International Journal of E-Politics, as well as Information, Communication and Society.

About Policy and Internet

Policy and Internet aims to be the premier venue for scholars and researchers to set the public policy agenda in the digital era. The journal is edited by the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) for the Policy Studies Organization (PSO). It was established in 2009 as the first major peer-reviewed journal investigating the implications of the Internet and associated technologies for public policy.

The journal is fully multi-disciplinary in scope: perspectives from any academic discipline are welcomed, particularly political science, economics, law, sociology, information science, communications, computer science, psychology, management, geography and medicine. Topics range across policy sectors and regions of the world, including generalised, sectoral or country-specific policy effects. Approaches may include methodological innovation, theoretical development or new data.

The Editors are Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon and David Sutcliffe (University of Oxford). (See also the Policy and Internet Editorial Board) There are four issues a year, published by Berkeley Electronic Press.

Contact the Editors: