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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Highway Africa Conference 2014: Call for Papers

Theme: Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream

Dates: 7-8 September 2014
Venue: Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream

The birth of social media promised much in terms of a new dawn of democratisation of communication. There were expectations about the way social media would subvert the relations between producers and consumers of discourses. That the people formerly called the audience would now occupy digital spaces and talk back to power. That these same audiences would create their own content to rival that of the incumbent gate-keepers, they would mediate their own conversations, and hold vested interests (government, corporates) accountable via scrutiny of the use/abuse of power.

With the internet, mobile technology and social media having become a seamless part of social life, has this original idealism and valorisation of digital technologies come to pass? Has the internet, and the applications built on it, become instead, one large communications network that deprives individuals of privacy and renders them vulnerable to both abusive states and criminal gangs?

The conference invites the submission of abstracts for papers which reflect the questions posed above. Papers should engage with some of the current issues in social media research, media engagement with social/online communities, the internet and how it informs social media, and the mainstreaming of social media into everyday life, as well as media routines. In addition, papers can address the following topics at a more specific level:

- The impact of social media on newsrooms’ media production processes and distribution of content
- Civil society, advocacy and social media
- The rise of the individual voice in national discourse
- The nation, sovereignty, identity and social media
- Governance, government, politics and social media
- Social media and elections in Africa
- Social Media and transparency and accountability
- Marketing, advertising and social media
- Entertainment (music, games, movies) and social media
- Internet governance and implications for freedom of expression, security and privacy
- The role of mobile in expanding freedom of expression and political participation

Submission guidelines:
2 A4 pages:
Page 1: Title of paper and contact details of author(s), category of submission
Page 2: Abstract

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 27 June 2014

Submissions should be addressed to:
Dr Vanessa Malila
School of Journalism and Media Studies
Rhodes University
email: v.malila@ru.ac.za
Tel: (+27) 0466037110

Review process:
Abstracts will undergo a blind peer review by a panel of specialists in the field.

Categories of submission:

Category 1: Work in progress
Papers based on work in progress may be submitted.
Only abstracts are required before the conference
Format guidelines:
Abstract length: 500 words maximum
Format: 1.5 line spacing
Language: English

Category 2: Full papers
Upon acceptance of abstract a complete (conceptual and empirical papers) may be submitted.
Abstract length: 500 words maximum
Paper length: 6 000 words (excluding title pages and references).
Full papers will undergo a process of blind peer reviewing for inclusion in conference proceedings.
Format guidelines:
Format: 1.5 line spacing
Language: English

Deadline for electronic submission of all abstracts for peer review and other proposals: 27 June 2014
The conference organiser will notify authors about the status of their contributions via e-mail: 11 July 2014
Deadline for submission of full (competitive) papers: 22 August 2014
Please submit all abstracts to: v.malila@ru.ac.za
For participation in the conference as a speaker or for suggestions on topics/panel discussions/training workshops/exhibitions/book launches OUTSIDE of the above academic track please contact:

Chris Kabwato
Director: Highway Africa Centre
School of Journalism & Media Studies
Rhodes University
Grahamstown 6140
South Africa

Telephone: +27-46-603-7138
Mobile: +27-82-582-9534
E-mail: C.Kabwato@ru.ac.za
Website: http://highwayafrica.com

Participation in the conference
Registration for the conference opens on 1 June and closes on 31 July. Registration fees are as follows:
R3000 (US$300): professional journalist
R1500 (US$150): academic/researcher
R1500 (US$150): community media practitioner
R900 (US$90): tertiary student

The above fee covers conference materials, group meals, local transport and training workshops. The registration fee does NOT cover airport transfers and accommodation.

For more information about registration, costs and conference logistics please go to:

WhatsApp RA(CTA)