Call for papers

Recent social and technological developments, including a dramatic rise in the number of smartphone users and the increased convergence of social network platforms and apps, are bringing about changes in the ways we use social media.

In this seminar we are interested in the real-world language and communication practices of individual users, groups of users, or institutions, which attest to the blurring of boundaries between the self and the public, media and social media, the online and the offline. The aim of this seminar is to bring together linguists researching digital language and communication to share their empirical and theoretical perspectives on changing digital practices. We invite papers that further our understanding of the complex and multiple roles that social media plays in contemporary networked societies, moving beyond public discourses – be they dystopian or utopian – about the implications of digital technologies for social life.

We invite abstract submissions in the following areas:

  • real-world uses of social media and mobile technologies for forming, maintaining and negotiating interpersonal relations
  • uses of social media for engaging or mobilising publics
  • text and story trajectories and the making of digital selves (and groups)
  • language and communication in protest campaigns online and citizen journalism
  • practices of news sharing online, including fake news
  • ways of navigating social media platforms and apps affordances and constraints for specific purposes
  • case studies of uses of social media for particular types of public engagement or interventions (positive or negative).

We are particularly interested in papers using ethnographic methods and mediated discourse analysis, and papers that theorize the interrelationship between the self and the public, media and social media, the online and offline, or issues of social (in)equality raised by uses of technologies.

Confirmed plenary speaker:

Mirca Madianou (Goldsmiths, London)

The event will also include a panel discussion on (social) media and public engagement.

Paper presentations

Format for Abstracts

Abstracts should be submitted to Caroline Tagg ( as a Word document or PDF file, containing the following information:

  • Title of proposed talk in bold
  • Name of presenter
  • Name and address of institution, telephone and email
  • Abstract text max. 300 words
  • 12 pt font, left-aligned, single-spaced

Key Dates

  • First call for papers: 1st December 2017
  • Second call for papers: 15th January 2017
  • Abstract deadline: 2nd February 2018
  • Notification: 16th February 2018
  • Registration: 19th February to 29th March 2018


The fee includes: registration, teas/coffees, and lunch.

  • Full fee – £50
  • BAAL members’ fee – £40
  • Students – £35
  • Concessionary fee (BAAL students or unwaged BAAL members) – £30

Please note that the fee does not include accommodation or travel.


Caroline Tagg, Korina Giaxoglou, Laura Paterson, Kristina Hultgren, Philip Seargeant and Frank Monaghan (in conjunction with Agnieszka Lyons, SIG Events Organiser)

Contact: Caroline Tagg (