Social Media and Social Order

Keynote speakers: Chris Bail (Duke University), Nick Couldry (LSE), Jessie Daniels (City University of New York), and Stefania Milan (University of Amsterdam)

This international conference will investigate how social media re-inscribe social order-asserting established ways in which social groups are assigned their proper place in the city or the nation. Social media are frequently imagined as vectors of transformation and disruption, and as a result very little existing research considers the continuities and conservative schemas that are reproduced by these platforms. The conference will make up for this blind spot by placing the symbols, institutions, rituals, socially induced emotions and everyday social interactions mediated and produced by digital media at the center. When, how and why do social media serve to reproduce rather than to challenge the existing order? Under which conditions, and on what levels, can challenges to the social order occur? What difference does it make to regard social media not just as a conduit but also as a site of social order?

The conference will pursue these questions by considering cases and identifying mechanisms through which social media both re-inscribe and challenge social order. These will range across several fields, including urban life, public debate, social movements, community dynamics, and religious or cultural conflict. The conference will also reflect on methodological issues in studying the social media-social order nexus, such as the relationship between computational and qualitative approaches. We will also consider the relative merits of various theoretical perspectives, including mediatization, actor-network, figurational and practice theories.

The conference will feature reports from Cultural Conflict 2.0, a three-year project on digital media and cultural conflict funded by the Research Council of Norway based at the University of Agder, Norway, and the University of Amsterdam.

Presentations can deal with the following topics under the broader conference theme of Social Media & Social Order (but are not restricted to them):

* Racialized, classed and gendered ordering through social media
* How do social media impinge on local community relations?
* Memes, fake news and the far-right ascendancy
* Building alternate and activist social media to challenge social order
* The puzzle of aesthetic homogeneity and conformity on social media
* How hierarchy is established in digital networks
* Negotiating online and face-to-face encounters
* The relationship between 'legacy' and social media in the structuring of social order
* The logic of mutual affirmation in global/online vs. local/offline interactions 

Abstracts are due by 15 August 2017. For further details and instructions for how to submit, please visit the conference website at <>.

If you have any questions about this call, don't hesitate to contact the organizers at

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