Call for Abstracts: Digital activism and participation: affect, feelings and politics


In the shape of likes, comments, photos, videos or texts, digital media have generated a public audience and response to individual experience, personal feeling or political attitudes - consequently blurring the lines between digital sociality and digital activism - between the individual and the collective. The various ways that digital media have come to shape, constitute and reconfigure our everyday lives and practices, thus call for an investigation of existing notions of activism, social and political engagement. The aim of this special issue is, thus, to create a space for reflection on the role of digital media in participatory movements as new possibilities for politicizing personal and intimate lives emerge. We are specifically interested in movements that do not necessarily take a conventional activist form, and furthermore how affect and feelings shape these movements.

In the 1970s, the feminist catchphrase ‘The personal is political and the political is personal’ reinforced an understanding of private and public domains as mutually constitutive and inextricably connected. In recent years, affect theory further developed this perspective by arguing that feelings are inherently political (e.g. Ahmed 2004, Papacharissi 2015, Wahl-Jorgensen 2019). Indeed, they do things. Held together, these perspectives highlight how ‘personal’ feelings and affect can be drivers for political change and for the creation of communities of both in- and exclusion. Digital media furthermore has the ability to connect and create communities of spatially and socially dispersed individuals, offering a space for affective and ‘private’ connections to become public and political.

In this issue we welcome contributions that reflect upon the role of feelings, affects or emotions as catalysts for political participation or digital activism - and with this, contributions that either from a theoretical or empirical perspective grapple with the fundamental question: what can be defined as digital activist practices?

We encourage submissions that engage with one or more of the following questions: 

  •   What are the boundaries and/or relation between activism and other kinds of social engagement via digital platforms?
  •   How are feelings and affects mobilized in digital spaces as catalysts for community building, connectivity and change?
  •   What are the political potentials and pitfalls of ‘the private’ in digital activism?
  •   How is everyday life and the mundane entangled with political struggles for change and/or recognition on social media?
  •   How do the potentials of digital media affect power dynamics and relations in activist struggles?


Please submit an abstract of maximum 500 words (excluding references) by April 15th 2021 on MedieKultur’s website: Authors will be notified of their acceptance by May 15th 2021. The deadline for submission of full papers is September 1st 2021. Articles that are accepted for further process by the editors will go into peer-review in November 2021. We expect to have decisions on manuscripts and potential further revisions by January 2022. We expect to publish this special issue in June 2022.

Editors for this special issue: Lene Bull Christiansen (Roskilde University), Maj Hedegaard Heiselberg (Roskilde University) and Katrine Meldgaard Kjær (IT University of Copenhagen).


If you have any questions please contact issue editor Katrine Meldgaard Kjær: kakj at



Ahmed, S., 2004. The cultural politics of emotion. London: Routledge.

Bennett, W.L. and Segerberg, A., 2014. The logic of connective action, digital media and the personalization of contentious politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Castells, M., 2015. Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Second Edition. Cambridge: Polity.

Highfield, T., 2016. Social Media and Everyday Politics. Cambridge: Polity.

Papacharissi, Z., 2015. Affective Publics. Sentiment, Technology, and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wahl-Jorgensen, K., 2019. Emotions, media and politics. Cambridge: John Wiley & Sons.