#TogetherApart: Hypermediatization, (inter)subjectivity and sociality in the time of pandemic (Special Issue)

April 21, 2020

Media technologies have become deeply embedded in our lives as “ecologies of communication through which human life is sustained” (Couldry, 2020, p. 119). Nowhere does this statement ring more true than in the COVID-19 pandemic reality, an unprecedented rupture which brought the world to a halt, changing the ways we live, work and play.

There have been predictions that the outbreak of COVID-19 will fundamentally change the world as we know it – as the virus presents a deep caesura in the course of humanity and forces us to rethink everything we have taken for granted (Harari, 2020; Krastev, 2020). At (what feels like) a swift and dramatic stroke, we are learning to live in lockdown, with digital mediation becoming a strategy of survival, while communication and sociality “at a distance” – the new normal (Fuchs, 2020) and "today’s form of solidarity” (Žižek, 2020), as symbolised by the hashtag #TogetherApart. The conditions of ‘deep mediatization’ (Couldry & Hepp, 2017) are deepening further, as digital media is now indispensable in every aspect of our lives.

The 2016 special issue of Networking Knowledge, ‘Together while Apart: Mediating Relationships and Intimacy’ (DOI: https://doi.org/10.31165/nk.2016.96), edited by Patricia Prieto-Blanco and Maria Schreiber, dealt with issues around mediated sociality and intimacy, featuring articles on algorithmic love (Cambre, 2016); the role of media technologies in family life (Frolova, 2016); the smartphone and the contemporary backpacking experience (Silas, Løvlie and Ling, 2016); ‘monthsary’ practices on social media (Abidin, 2016), affective oral storytelling practices in digital archives (Lee, 2016), and the conceptualisation of ultrashort videos on Vine (Rentemeister 2016).

Following the 2016 special issue, we need to revisit the question of mediatization and explore how media technologies are changing (inter)subjectivity and sociality in the COVID-19 pandemic reality where we are forced to live, work and play in conditions of lockdown.

Networking Knowledge invites contributions from postgraduate and early career researchers for a special issue dealing with the different manifestations of hypermediatization in society, culture, and communications from any disciplinary perspective or across disciplines. 

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Mediated sociality as the new normal
  • Hypermediatization and its impact on daily life
  • Creativity in lockdown
  • Performative (inter)subjectivity and affect: changes in the ways we view ourselves and relate to others
  • Authenticity, truth and trust in mediated communications
  • COVID-19 media coverage: the return of the expert?

Please submit a 500-word abstract (not including references) and 100-word bio to the journal editor, Bissie Anderson: bissie.anderson@stir.ac.uk by 1 July 2020. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 1 August, with full papers (detailed submission guidelines can be found here) to be submitted for peer review via our OJS system by 1 November 2020. We aim to publish the special issue in the spring of 2021