EVENT Mar 01
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CFP: Social Semiotics special edition: Political ideology in everyday social media use

Organization: Dr
Categories: Digital Humanities, Lingustics, Popular Culture, Rhetoric & Composition, Cultural Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2020-03-01 Abstract Due: 2020-03-01

Special Issue CFP: Political ideology in everyday social media use


To be published in Social Semiotics, Taylor & Francis journal


Scholars have looked extensively at social media in terms of its potential to reinvigorate democratic participation and/ or bring new political voices into our civic sphere (Coffey and Woolworth 2004; Denisova 2019; Merrin 2019). But everyday social media use is less about voicing political views and more about engaging in the mundane, where in the matter of a few minutes we laugh along to memes and mash ups that ridicule the powerful, comment on shared music videos, read a food recipe and watch someone unbox a new pair of trainers. From the perspective of Critical Discourse Studies, social media brings the opportunity to look at the political and ideological in a different way. Here, we can critically consider how ideologies infuse the everyday and mundane forms of communication across and between platforms where we engage with and communicate about entertainment, family issues, celebrity and political gossip, transport, health, food, sport and leisure. In this special edition, we start from the perspective that this type of engagement is ideological, deeply inscribed with values and ideas. It is in everyday use where discourses are articulated, parodied, altered and/ or taken for granted. And it is this area our special issue critically explores.


Scholars have previously shown the need to look for the political and ideological in popular culture (Adorno 1991, Williams 1963). In Critical Discourse Studies, some recent special issues make the same case (Machin & Van Leeuwen 2016; Way 2019) based on the idea that it is in popular culture and the everyday where we most experience politics “as fun, as style, and simply as part of the taken for granted everyday world…. [though these] are infused by and shaped by, power relations and ideologies” (Machin 2013: 347). Our special issue differs from this previous work, looking specifically at social media. We consider how ideologies like neoliberalism, sexism, racism and populism (to name a few) are embedded in our everyday engagement with social media.


Papers are welcome which critically look at any social media platform and topic. Suggestions for critical reflection include:


Retail reviews

Food and restaurants

Film and television

Music videos

Diet and fitness


Travel destinations and tourism

Mash ups, memes, viral media about the powerful


Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words in length, plus a short author biography to Dr Lyndon Way, Liverpool University at Lyndon.way@liverpool.ac.uk and Professor Gwen Bouvier, Zhejiang University at gwen.bouvier@gmail.com by 1 March 2020. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 31 March 2020.


Dates to remember:

1 March deadline for submitting abstract and biography

1 August deadline for submitting full-length paper for blind review

1 November submit final revised paper

January 2021 papers published


Please note than acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee publication. All submissions will undergo double blind peer review once completed articles are submitted.




Adorno, Theo. 1991. The Culture Industry: Selected essays on mass culture, London: Routledge

Coffey, B., and S. Woolworth (2004), ‘Destroy the scum, and then neuter their families: The web forum as a vehicle for community discourse?’, Social Science Journal, 41(1): 1–14.

Denisova, Anastasia. 2019. Internet Memes and Society: Social, Cultural, and Political Contexts. Routledge: New York and London.

Machin, David. 2013. “What Is Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies?” Critical Discourse Studies 10(4): 347– 355.

Machin, David and van Leeuwen, Theo (Eds). 2016. Multimodality, politics and ideology, Journal of Language and Politics 15(3).

Merrin, William. 2019. “President Troll: Trump, 4Chan and Memetic Warfare”. In Trump’s Media War (Eds) Catherine Happer, Andrew Hoskins and William Merrin pp. 201-226. Palgrave Macmillan: Switzerland.

Way, Lyndon (Ed). 2019. The Politics of Sound: Intersections of Music, Discourse and Political Communication, Journal of Language and Politics 18(4).


Williams, Raymond. 1963. Culture and Society, Harmondsworth: Penguin.


Gwen Bouvier