The hidden forces shaping digital discourse: Analysis and activism

Panel Organizer

Caroline Tagg (The Open University) and the Discourse, Context & Media editorial team

Panel Abstract

At a time when the role of digital discourse in shaping real-world events has never seemed so crucial, this panel showcases the breadth and diversity of the international journal Discourse, Context & Media with a critical focus on the ‘hidden forces’ shaping digital discourse. Studies of digital discourse have moved away from an earlier tendency towards ‘technological determinism’ to a greater understanding of the ways in which individuals and communities draw differently on the affordances of new technologies in order to address local communicative needs. From this perspective, our panel of authors, guest editors and editorial board members explore how people’s agentive digital practices are shaped by site architectures and the wider political and economic contexts in which digital interactions take place. How can these hidden forces – which include digital and material inequalities, neoliberal ideologies, gender bias, unfathomable algorithms, and the commercial imperatives and corporate interests that shape interface design – be taken into account in discourse analysis of online interactions? In what ways do users accommodate, resist and counteract these hidden forces? How can users be equipped to navigate them? And what are the implications for our understanding of the potential for digital discourse in shaping contemporary real-world events? 


Discourse analysis and the political economy of digital communication

Ana Deumert, University of Cape Town

Social activism and the self as moral project

Gwen Bouvier, Zhejiang University

Dominant ideologies and the affinity spectrum

Rachelle Vessey, Carleton University

Discourse, context and media in digital surveillance

Rodney H. Jones, University of Reading 

The hidden forces shaping the digital discourse of quality assurance and teaching

Per Ledin, Södertörn University 

“I’d blush if I could”: Addressing gender bias in Artificial Intelligence voice assistants 

Maria Grazia Sindoni, University of Messina

COMPLETE CONFERENCE PROGRAM will be posted in Spring 2022