Era or Error of Transformation? Assessing Afrocentric Attributes of Digitalisation

Call For Papers
An IAMCR pre-conference//Special Issue Information, Communication and Society

Editor in Chief: Brian Loader

Guest Editors: Bruce Mutsvairo (University of Technology Sydney), Massimo Ragnedda (Northumbria University) and Kristin Skare Orgeret (Oslo Metropolitan University)

Era or Error of Transformation? Assessing Afrocentric Attributes of Digitalisation

While the continent of Africa has long been depicted as economically and socially underdeveloped compared with other parts of the world, the potential of its peoples, natural resources and nations has always been recognised. In recent years however, it is the transformative capacity of digital communications media, particularly mobile phones, for young urbanised populations that is seen as heralding sustainable socio-economic growth and political stability. This special issue of Information, Communication & Society is intended to throw a rare and critical light upon these claims by examining how new media may be changing the everyday lives of Africans. It will also seek to understand the implications of these technological changes for nation-states within the wider geo-political context of post-colonial relations and the emergence of China as a major investor. What barriers and challenges still exist for digital literacy, human rights, democratic governance, business innovation and digital access? The special issue will address, although not exclusively, such questions as:

  • Can African economic and social development leapfrog other countries by adopting broadband and mobile technologies?
  • What possibilities are available to tame digital disparities in Africa?
  • What are the implications of social media networking for gender, sexuality, race, class and identity politics?
  • How do demographic, cultural and socio-economic inequalities influence the way Africans access (first level of digital divide), use (second level of digital divide) and benefit from ICTs (third level of digital divide)?
  • Is there evidence for digital media transforming health care practices and outcomes?
  • What innovative methods are being used to provide citizens with access to critical information, which could help improve their lives?
  • Is social media influencing political engagement and activism?
  • In what ways have anti-social media regulatory frameworks including Internet shutdowns affected citizens?

Accepted papers will be presented in an IAMCR preconference at Madrid 2019 before being considered for publication in a special issue of Information, Communication and Society in 2020.

Please send your abstracts of 300 words (max) and brief bio to bruce.mutsvairo [at] and in CC, massimo.ragnedda [at] and kristo [at]

Abstract submission deadline: 15 March 2019

Notification on submitted abstracts: 30 March 2019

Date of Preconference: 6 July 2019

Time: 9am

Location: Facultad Ciencias Información de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Edificio Aulario)
                Room C007

Article submission deadline: 1 February 2020