“IJoC” Call for Papers: Special Section on “Privacy at the Margins”

International Journal of Communication Call for Papers:
Special Section on “Privacy at the Margins”

Guest Editors:

danah boyd
Founder, Data & Society Research Institute
Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Alice E. Marwick
Fellow, Data & Society Research Institute
Assistant Professor of Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Deadline for Brief Abstracts for Review:
December 6, 2016

Deadline for Manuscript Submission:
January 30, 2017

“Privacy” is a contested term, debated in fields as varied as computer science, law, philosophy, and sociology. Research on privacy takes many forms, from survey research which attempts to measure how much privacy people have or want, to legal scholars evaluating the constitutionality of police surveillance. Emerging technologies, from mobile phones to “Big Data,” have radically disrupted understandings and experiences of both privacy and surveillance. However, amidst decades of scholarship concerning privacy, very little attention has been given to how low-income individuals and people of color experience privacy, even though they are far more likely to be targets of surveillance.  Moreover, while privacy and surveillance affect different populations in disparate ways, they are often treated as monolithic concepts by researchers.

This special section of the International Journal of Communication aims to address this gap by publishing a collection of original research papers that address “privacy at the margins.”  We are especially interested in empirical research addressing the privacy experiences of those whose struggles are not typically made visible. While digital technologies have reshaped many aspects of privacy, we are open to work that also addresses privacy in contexts as varied as consumer finance, criminal justice, education, employment, health, housing, and social services. By incorporating research that is often left out by privacy scholars, and by advocating for projects that discuss more diverse conceptualizations of “the user” or the subject, we can envision a future for privacy scholarship that incorporates a wider set of harms and needs, and encompasses the concerns of a larger base of citizens.

Example questions that are relevant include (but are not limited to):

  • How do low-income individuals harness technology, collective action, or other techniques to resist surveillance and protect their privacy?
  • How does data collection affect those seeking to get public benefits?
  • What are the ramifications of data tracking on undocumented people?
  • How does the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and class affect people’s privacy attitudes and experiences?
  • How do sensors connected to the Internet of Things affect public housing?
  • In what ways do people from poorer and more rural environments approach digital privacy differently than those in more urban or privileged contexts?
  • How does police surveillance and the criminal justice system affect people’s day-to-day experiences of privacy both offline and on?
  • In what ways do low-income youth experience surveillance in educational contexts?
  • How does differential access to technology affect experiences of privacy?
  • What is the relationship between educational surveillance, employment, and the criminal justice system?
  • In what ways does state or consumer surveillance affect transgender or gender non-conforming individuals?
  • What are the effects of consumer surveillance and “social sorting” on people of different income levels?

Submission Instructions:

By December 6, 2016, submit a 150-word (max) description of your proposed paper to [email protected]. This will allow the guest editors to prepare appropriate reviewers. Unless your proposed paper is wholly off-topic, you will be encouraged to submit a full paper.

By January 30, 2017, submit your full paper to [email protected]. For formatting instructions, word count, and other guidelines, see IJoC’s Author Guidelines.

Approximately 12–15 papers will be sent out for full review. All other papers will be returned to their authors for submission elsewhere.

Open Access:

All papers published through the International Journal of Communication are permanently open access. Authors do not have to pay to submit or to publish. However, should authors have grant funding to contribute to the production and editorial process, please let us know as it would be greatly appreciated.

Questions? Concerns? Please reach out to the guest editors at [email protected].