CfP: Researching Intimacies and New Media: Methodological Opportunities and Challanges (Publication: Qualitative Inquiry); DL: 01.12.2018

Special issue of Qualitative Inquiry (Web), to be published 2018; Guest Editors: Katherine Harrison (Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark & Lund Univ., Sweden) & Maria Bee Christensen-Strynø (Roskilde Univ., Denmark)

Submission by: 1 December 2016

New media are increasingly intersecting and intertwined with our daily lives, bodily and intimate practices, and relationships. This special issue will present contributions from researchers who are investigating practices of intimacy mediated either wholly or in part through new media. In particular, it will focus on the methodological issues involved in conducting qualitative research in this flourishing field.

A number of volumes published in the last decade have variously covered affect and methodology (e.g. Fraser and Puwar 2008; Pink 2009; Richardson 2005; Stage and Timm 2015), affect and new media (e.g. Chambers 2013; Garde-Hansen and Gorton 2013; Hillis at al 2015; Karatzogianni and Kuntsman 2012; McGlotten 2013; Paasonen 2011; Payne 2014; van Dijck 2013), or online methodologies (e.g. Hine 2000; Kozinets 2012; Markham and Baym 2009). This special issue builds on this existing body of scholarship and develops it further by narrowing the focus to methodological issues of research conducted on/with/through new media and specifically concerned with practices of intimacy. This special issue will zoom in on questions of method and methodology as they are experienced by researchers working at the cutting-edge of scholarship on intimacies and new media. It will share knowledge and experiences from the field, as well as proposing innovative methodological solutions and ideas on how to enter, survive and exit these highly charged fieldsites. Both personal experiences and reflections on current policies, procedures and paradigms will be welcomed.

Researching intimacies encompasses a wide variety of practices and relationships, including but not limited to kinship, sexual encounters, body and gender, dis/abilities, migration, friendship, birth and death, romantic relationships, non-monogamies, dating or community formation. Each of these finds different forms in its mediatization. Simultaneously “new media” comprises a variety of digital platforms that offer distinctive ways to share, connect and communicate; differences in hardware and software intersect with situated sociocultural norms about technology use. The combination of intimate practices and new media thus poses challenges to existing methodological paradigms due to the limitations/affordances of the medium intersecting with continuously shifting practices of intimacy. This special issue will present a range of intimate practices as well as a selection of digital sites and apps. In so doing, a variety of different methodological issues will be highlighted and discussed.

Suggestions for topics that contributors may wish to engage with include, but are not limited to:

  • Logistical and technical difficulties in collecting ephemeral or unstable personal data
  • Intimacy and loneliness of the researcher
  • Commercialization of online intimacies
  • The blurring of personal/professional lines of conduct as a researcher
  • The borderline between “lurking”, voyeurism and participation
  • Public intimacies in private spaces – accessing and exiting personal spaces as fieldsites
  • Technical glitches in online intimacies
  • The illusion of online anonymity or distance
  • Negotiating national differences in ethical guidelines for online collection of ”intimate” data
  • Tracking intimacies over time, space and media
  • Capturing and processing vast amounts of intimate data
  • Finding participants when the topic provokes shame, anger, or embarrassment
  • How multiple understandings of “intimacy” affect methodology
  • Sudden changes to fieldsites in response to public outcry/moral outrage
  • Adapting old methods to new and slippery fieldsites
  • Legal frameworks as intimate practices move between screen and materiality
  • Inclusion/exclusion mechanisms and accessibility

We welcome papers from a wide range of disciplines. The editors welcome expressions of interest and are happy to discuss proposals for contributions.

Please send your abstract to: AND . Abstracts should be maximum 500 words long and written in English. Please include your name, title, and affiliation. Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 December 2016

If accepted, final versions of papers should follow the Qualitative Inquiry submission guidelines which can be viewed here:

Please note that the Editors of the journal reserve the right to reject special issues and/or individual articles at any point in the review process.

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