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*** Apologies for cross-posting.. and Merry Christmas!!***

In occasion of the next ECPR General Conference (Oslo 6-9 September 2017)
we invite papers for any of the panels in the section "Political Sciences
and the Big Data Challenge From Big Data in Politics to the Politics of Big
Data".
More detailed info on panels and the overall section can be found below.


Please submit paper proposals to [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask]
 by *January the 15th 2017* including the following info:

- papers titles and abstracts (no more than 500 words)

- institutional affliliation

- institutional email address


We will then arrange the selected papers in panels and submit them to the
ECPR via their electronic platform.

Please note that paper authors must be registered in the ECPR electronic
platform with the email address they will include in the paper proposals.


All the best


Alice Mattoni and Elena Pavan


***


*CALL FOR PAPERS*

*ECPR General Conference – 6-9 September 2017, Oslo*



*Section title*


*Political Sciences and the Big Data Challenge From Big Data in Politics to
the Politics of Big Data*


*Section organizers*

Chair: Elena Pavan, Scuola Normale Superiore

Co-chair: Alice Mattoni, Scuola Normale Superiore


*Section outline and themes*

This section aims to open a much-needed space for developing within the
ECPR context a critical and informed reflection on the multi-faceted nexus
between Big Data and political science. It understands Big Data not solely
in terms of large-scale datasets of textual or digital data that require us
to tune our research practices. More radically, it starts from a
conceptualization of Big Data as a complex set of cultural, political and
scientific knowledge practices that challenge the traditional modes in
which research questions are posed and framed, analyses are performed, as
well as the ways in which results are communicated to the public and thus
affect public discourse and debates. Consistently, the section comprises a
set of panels that aim to investigate two interrelated aspects. On the one
hand, panels will engage with how Big Data are leveraging our understanding
of political dynamics within complex societies. In this respect, the
section will consider applications of Big Data in connection to public
opinion and institutional politics (party dynamics, political
communications, etc.) as well as in relation to the study of contemporary
forms of collective action and unconventional political participation
(social movements, digital activism and the like). On the other, panels
will develop a specific take on Big Data, considering how they become a
contested research and political terrain, and thus inviting critical
reflections on methodological and epistemological implications but also on
the power dynamics that entwine with the increased datification of our
societies. In this sense, this Section offers a unique occasion to foster
the convergence of scholars and researchers currently working on the value
of Big Data for studying politics but also on the politics of Big Data
themselves. With this aim in mind, the panels in this Section will welcome
papers employing different theoretical, empirical and methodological
approaches on Big Data, with a single-case or a comparative multinational
and/or multiplatform perspective. More specifically, the Section will
welcome papers on the following topics.


*Big data, public opinion and institutional politics*

Digital social behaviors and, particularly, social media communications and
interactions are increasingly considered a fundamental component of
electoral campaigns, governmental and legislative dynamics as well as of
the relationships and the interactions between party members and political
leaders with their constituencies. Thus, it is in the online public
discourse unravelling on social media platforms that politicians and
policy-makers lean to an increasing extent to have the pulse of ongoing and
ever evolving political trends and public opinions. This panel invites
papers that apply Big Data to the study of contemporary political
institutional and/or public opinion dynamics with national or comparative
perspectives thus providing a space to inquiry about how this type of data
and related methodological and analytical practices can leverage our
understanding of traditional political science topics.


*Big data and unconventional political participations*

The rapid diffusion and increased use of social media platforms in
grassroots politics has relevant consequences for the organization of
social movements and their forms of protest. While more traditional forms
of collective actions still exist, grassroots politics often follows a
logic of connective action according to which collective actors are less
central than in the past for the success of mobilizations. Moreover,
activists lean increasingly on web-based platforms and internet services
that produce Big Data flows worldwide. This panel invites papers that
investigate to what extent Big Data are changing the way in which activists
organize and protest with national or comparative perspectives thus
providing a space to inquiry about how this type of data and related
methodological and analytical practices can leverage our understanding of
grassroots political participation today.


*A paradigm shift for political science? Discussing Big Data epistemology
and its implication for political studies*

Recent events, such as the last USA Presidential elections, have clearly
shown the potentials and, perhaps, even to a larger extent, the
criticalities of predictive analytical practices in the study of political
dynamics. The time seems more than ripe to begin re-addressing the
methodological practices that underpin our understanding of sociopolitical
dynamics – in particular in relation to our extensive use of large-scale
digital and textual datasets which are deemed to be “representative” of
citizens’ political preferences, desires, and priorities. Consistently,
this panel invites papers that address, theoretically or empirically, the
potentialities and the criticalities of Big Data as a new epistemological
practice for producing valid and socially relevant scientific knowledge in
the field of political science.


*Big data as a political terrain: deconstructing and approaching critically
datification*

Big Data are not a neutral field of practice and knowledge, in particular
when it comes to politics. Political actors, economic actors and media
actors understand in different ways the concept of big data. More
precisely, when political parties and social movements engage with Big
Data, they often evoke specific, and contrasting, understanding of what
datification processes means in and for politics. This panel invites papers
that deconstruct and approach critically processes of datification in
contemporary politics by looking at the intersections between different
political cultures and (big) data cultures, focusing on the discourses and
imaginaries that political actors develop around Big Data, and
investigating the media practices related to the construction, manipulation
and subversion of Big Data within the political realm.


*How to submit a paper*

Please submit paper proposals to [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask] by
January the 15th 2017 including the following info:

- papers titles and abstracts (no more than 500 words)

- institutional affliliation

- institutional email address

We will then arrange the selected papers in panels and submit them to the
ECPR via their electronic platform.

Please note that paper authors must be registered in the ECPR electronic
platform with the email address they will include in the paper proposals.




-- 


*Elena Pavan, Ph.D.*



*Assistant Professor*

Istituto di Scienze Umane e Sociali

Scuola Normale Superiore

Palazzo Strozzi - Piazza degli Strozzi, 1

50123 Firenze

email: [log in to unmask]



*Adjunct Professor*

Dipartimento Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale

Università di Trento

via Verdi 26

38122 Trento

email: [log in to unmask]

telephone: +39 (0)461 28 1378


*Fellow*
Nexa Center for Internet and Society
Politecnico di Torino - DAUIN
Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
10129 Torino (Italy)

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