Call-for-papers – Special issue on “Media Literacy and Civic Cultures”

The search for solutions to complex problems in the information ecosystem – such as collective disinformation, hate speech and political polarisation – puts increasing pressure on the pivotal importance of leveraging the pedagogies and practices in Media Literacy. In the words of Paul Mihailidis (2018, p. 1). “As new media tools and technologies further disrupt the core relationship among media, citizens, and society, media literacy is in a fight for civic relevance”. Indeed, growing evidence supports Media Literacy’s role in improving civic participation and engagement (Frau-Meigs et al., 2017; Jenkins, 2020; McDougall, 2019; McDougall et al., 2019; Mihailidis, 2014).

Algorithms, digital footprints, and echo chambers lead to a “data loop” (Mathieu and Vengerfeldt, 2020, p. 117), making content and data circulate over and over between audiences and media. These new contexts of mediatization pose questions to the democratic realm and intensify the questions about democracy at diverse levels. This includes what Milan and Trére call “data poor” (2020, p. n/a), especially with the Covid-19 pandemic, putting in perspective the recurrent universalization of western narratives (Milan and Trére, 2019).

From the media research perspective, media studies need to consider the ethics and integrity of the research and innovative methodologies that better address current challenges. This can imply using new and traditional methods and qualitative and datafied research approaches in a needed and yet unusual combination (Lê and Schmid, 2020). In doing this, we also must distinguish between making ethical choices and implementing ethical solutions; understand how to make pedagogical choices that are ethical; and to be accountable for the constant possibility of observing unintended consequences (Holmes et al., 2021) . 

Among these new methods, approaches like arts-based research are becoming particularly relevant for the field of communication and media studies, as acknowledged by Carpentier and Sumiala (2021), by proposing the articulation of artistic repertoires with social sciences and humanities research, in order to produce as well as to communicate academic knowledge. Hybridity, multimodality and participation are here key-words, which may enable academic research to go beyond its traditional audiences and to reach and engage with other publics.

For the Observatorio (OBS) journal special issue on “Media Literacy and Civic Cultures”, we welcome contributions related (but not limited to) with the following sub-themes:

– Participation and digital citizenship
– Participation in the datafied society
– Inclusion of underrepresented groups in digital media practices
– Intersectionality and activism(s)
– Ethics, audience research and datafication
– Innovative methodologies: big data and qualitative data
Innovative methodologies: arts-based research in communication and media studies


Publication timeline
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere. All manuscripts are refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. Dates are indicative – to be confirmed.

Submission deadline for full-papers: 10-06-2022 [already extended]
Notifications of reviews sent to authors: 20-07-2022
Submission deadline for final full-papers:  12-09-2022
Publication of full-papers in special issue: 20-10-2022


Special issue Editors
Célia Quico – Universidade Lusófona, CICANT
Manuel Pita – Universidade Lusófona, CICANT
Maria José Brites – Universidade Lusófona, CICANT
Carla Sousa – Universidade Lusófona, CICANT

To potential Authors
Please submit your proposals according to OBS format standards for publication (check HERE) via e-mail to

About Observatorio (OBS)
Observatorio (OBS*) e-journal is a quarterly academic publication, free of charge, in the field of Communication Studies, which accepts and publishes texts written in Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Italian, French and English. Its formula of Open Access allows authors to have the maximum of public exposition of their work, thus we encourage readers and authors to register and submit their work for upcoming issues.


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