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Beyond Mainstream: Expanding Perspectives on Participatory Media Cultures (Call for Chapters )

Organization: Nelson Mandela University; University of the Witwatersrand
Event: Call for Chapters
Categories: Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, Women's Studies, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2024-04-18 Abstract Due: 2024-04-18

Beyond Mainstream: Expanding Perspectives on Participatory Media Cultures
Edited collection (Emerald Publishers)
Proposed book editors:
Dr. Natalie Le Clue, Nelson Mandela University
Dr. Catherine Duncan, University of the Witwatersrand
Dr. Janelle Vermaak-Griessel, Nelson Mandela University
Call for chapters:
The study of the participatory potential of social media enjoys significant attention and has produced, in the African context, a rich tapestry of valuable contributions to the field (Bosch, 2021, Mano & Milton, 2021, Ndlela & Mano, 2020, Mutsvairo, 2016). However, the study of social media often seeks to understand how it shapes contemporary interactions, cultural trends, and the dissemination of information but is less attentive to the users and audiences themselves and the contexts of their experiences. Therefore, this proposed collection foregrounds exploring African and Global South/South interpretive communities and online communities of practice through the lens of participatory media culture. 
The framework of participatory culture provides a deeper understanding of the participatory and creative practices that characterise online communities. By elevating qualitative inquiry and centring the perspective of users themselves, participatory culture offers insights into the diverse ways in which audiences engage with media (and mediated) texts and cultural commodities and challenge the traditional notions of cultural consumption and production.
Participatory media culture comprises diverse engagements of communities that create, shape, and respond to media content and their consequent practices. This includes a wide range of activities such as sharing, producing, remixing, gifting, and interacting with content across various platforms and formats.
The engagement involves active participation, collaboration, and engagement within digital spaces. It fosters a dynamic exchange of ideas, identities, and cultures, often but not exclusively, positive, or constructive. In the context of this collection, we will seek to acknowledge varied contexts, voices, and experiences as well as the interplay between individual agency and socio-cultural dynamics.
As such, this collection aims to compile a collection of nuanced case studies and perspectives on participation. As South African researchers, we are especially interested in receiving submissions from our South African and African colleagues working in this area. However, we are mindful of the productive South-South conversations in this area and encourage submissions from and about the Global South more broadly that cultivate an inclusive and diverse scholarly platform and varied points of view.
As editors, we are open to chapter themes, topics, and/or frameworks that focus on:

Local context, content, and cultural commodities

Social Activism through online participation and platforms

The impact of digital access limitations on participation in online collectives and  techno-politico-historical contexts that shape participatory media cultures

Intersectionality and identity in communities of practice and participation
We imagine participatory media cultures as broadly as possible to include (but not be limited to):

Diverse Community Formations: from neighbourhood WhatsApp groups to niche collector circles and political forums.

Practices of Self-Promotion: how content producers and artists utilise online platforms for self-promotion and community engagement, artistic expression, and audience interaction
Hobbyist and Maker Culture: how online platforms facilitate hobbyist and maker communities and knowledge exchange.

African Fiction and Poetry Collectives: African fiction and poetry publishing collectives have used digital platforms to amplify diverse voices and challenge traditional publishing norms.
Online Political Engagement: participatory media is here to stay in political discourse, particularly in contexts of disenfranchisement where we continue to see political mobilisation and resistance, alongside practices of exclusion and manipulation.
Proposed timeline
Abstracts due:                                                                                                        18 April 2024
Acceptance notification:                                                                                           30 April 2024
Completed first drafts due:                                                                                   20 August 2024
Reviewer comments returned:                                                                          31 November 2024
Revised papers due:                                                                                           15 January 2024
Abstracts should be between 300 words in length. Please include a 50 word biography (including affiliation if applicable).
Please send all abstracts and bios to:  bmabstracts@gmail.com
Bosch, T.E., 2020. Social media and everyday life in South Africa. Routledge.
Ndlela, M.N. and Mano, W., 2020. Social Media and Elections in Africa, Volume 1. Springer International Publishing.
Mano, W., Milton, V. ed., 2021. Routledge handbook of African media and communication studies. Routledge.
Mutsvairo, B., 2016. Digital activism in the social media era. Switzerland: Springer Nature.


Natalie; Catherine; Janelle