Digital Campaigning in Dissonant Public Spheres
May 9-12, 2021
Villa la Collina - Cadenabbia - Italy

Digital communication and digital media are massively challenging our understanding, thinking and knowledge about elections, referenda, protest mobilizations and other forms of political campaigning and engagement. Not only have political parties mediatized in high-choice media environments, but transformed into transmedia parties with communication at the core of their activities. Public spheres have become dissonant, disrupted by the inability to communicate across differences, increasing cacophony and polarization, and facilitate the manipulations of voter’s opinion formation at a massive and transnational scale.

The aim of this international conference is to discuss the current state of research, reflect on the EU elections 2019, the 2020 US presidential campaigns and several national elections in the recent past (2017-2020). Where do we stand, where does political communication research need to go, how can we overcome the challenges of data access restrictions, what can we learn from qualitative approaches? How can we trace and monitor digital manipulations across countries and over time? What are the public responses to this new phenomena?

This conference aims to bring together researchers interested in those problems: political communication proposed by the candidates and parties in the recent electoral contests and beyond, the reception and possible reaction from the citizens, and third, the consequences that such communication and responses may have on the future of the democratic public spheres.


Lance Bennett

University of Washington

Bruce Bimber

University California Santa Barbara

Call for papers

We encourage Authors to submit papers based on the proposed topics regardless of the geographical area. We are looking for either theoretical papers or papers based on sound methodological work. We welcome quantitative approaches from both traditional approaches (surveys, experiments, content analysis etc.) and more innovative methodologies (social media networks analysis, social scientific computational methods and/or trace data based research).

Authors should submit a short abstract (around 500 words without bibliography), providing information on the theoretical approach, methods used and possible preliminary results.

Download call for papers

Location & organizers

Conference will take place in 
Via Rome 11 I-22011 Cadenabbia (Co.) Italy


  • Ulrike Klinger (Freie Universität Berlin, Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society; European New School of Digital Studies, Germany)
  • Karolina Koc-Michalska (Audencia Business School; CEVIPOF Sciences-Po, France)
  • Andrea Römmele (Hertie School of Governance, Germany)
  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Germany