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Call for special issue papers

JGBV Special Issue:   Digital Technologies and Gender Based Violence: Mechanisms for oppression, activism and recovery

Co-Editors: Dr Christine Barter and Dr Rachel Robbins, Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), UK; Dr Sanna Koulu, University of Lapland, Finland.

This special edition seeks to bring together inter-disciplinary fields to understand both the benefits and obstacles provided by digital technology. We welcome submissions that contribute to intersectional understanding of Gender-Based Violence and digital technology from theoretical, conceptual or empirical standpoint. Specific topic areas may include, but are not limited to:

  • Transdisciplinary understandings of technologically facilitated GBV
  • Power structures and social inequalities that shape the nature and dynamics of technologically facilitated GBV
  • Digital spaces being used to perpetuate and reinforce attitudes condoning GBV
  • Spyware and GBV surveillance
  • Criminal law in digital contexts
  • Links between new technology and GBV activism and support
  • Digital communities and their impact in real-word settings for GBV
  • Communities of support formed through the digital activism to resist GBV
  • Evaluation of technologically driven interventions for GBV survivors

This Special Issue came about from the third European Conference on Domestic Violence, held in Oslo, Norway, September 2019.  Over 8,000 delegates from 41 countries participated and a consistent theme was how digital technologies were impacting on understandings and responses to Gender Based Violence (GBV). The Special Issue represents a timely addition to this emerging field to critically explore how technologies can be used to perpetrate and reinforce GBV and simultaneously be a powerful tool for resistance, activism and recovery and the challenges this brings. 

Rationale: Digital technology plays a fundamental role in all our lives, operating across public and private realms, often in ways many of us do not completely comprehend (Turke 2011). Technology facilitates forms of GBV which, even a decade ago, seemed unlikely (Woodlock 2016). New forms of technology provide perpetrators ever-growing ways to harass and control their victims using the tools of everyday life (Barter et al 2017, Tech Abuse 2017). As Woodlock concludes technology creates a sense of the perpetrator’s omnipresence to isolate, punish and humiliate. Alongside direct forms of technological GBV we have seen the rise in online misogynistic platforms and participatory communities, such as the Gamergate movement, as well as the recurrent targeting of girls and women by online trolls (United Nations 2015).

However, digital and social media also opens creative ways of engaging publicly.  Campaigns such as #metoo and #timesup and viral survivor statements show its potential for democratising access to voice and challenging exclusion (Robbins, 2018).  Digital feminist activism is thriving creating solidarity that cuts across national and other divides. Digital technologies also provide services for victims of trauma.  Whilst such interventions could be criticised for being faceless and distant, for some they provide a convenient means of support.  Nevertheless, access to digital technology is not evenly distributed and can depend on circumstances such as rurality and access to connection, disability and digital literacy. The rise of digital technologies in both facilitating and resisting violence presents a challenge for law and legal systems. The pervasive impact of digital technology can be problematic for legal institutions as law traditionally relies on built-in assumptions about criminal acts being limited in time and space as well as attributable to individual persons. Applying legal norms to acts that deviate from law’s built-in assumptions can involve constitutional issues and practical challenges. Digital technologies also question understandings of privacy and the private sphere, demonstrated by calls to consider smart-home appliances and home surveillance equipment as tools of stalking. 

Guidelines for abstract submission
Abstract proposals not exceeding 500 words in length should be sent to Dr Christine Barter, Cabarter@uclan.ac.uk, University of Central Lancashire, Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Abuse no later than 1st April 2020. Please include your name and email contact details. Feedback and a decision will be provided by May 15th.  

Prospective authors must be able to meet the following deadlines if their abstract is accepted for publication:

  1. Full draft of papers by September 30th
  2. Following peer-review, draft papers will be returned with a decision by February 1st
  3. Final versions of manuscripts to be received no later than May 30th
  4. Publication of this Special Issue will be September 2021.