programme: ICA 2017 PRE-CONFERENCE

Time & Venue 

Date: May 25, 2017
Time: 9 am - 5 pm 
Location: San Diego Hilton Bayfront, 2, Indigo 204B




Wednesday 24th May 


19:00 Welcome dinner for participants in a restaurant close to the conference hotel (venue to be announced). 



Thursday 25th May


9:00 – 10:00 Panel discussion: Comparing Political Communication Across Authoritarian Contexts: Challenges and Perspectives


Paolo Mancini (University of Perugia, Italy)

Muzammil M. Hussain (University of Michigan, USA)

Svetlana Bodrunova (Saint Petersburg University, Russia)


Moderator: Florian Toepfl (FU Berlin, Germany)



10:00 – 10:30 Coffee break



10:30 – 12:30 Panel I: The Consequences of the Internet for Authoritarian Politics: Comparative Perspectives


Marlies Glasius, Marcus Michaelsen (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, the Netherlands)

Digital Authoritarian Practices: A Conceptual Approach to Internet Use and Governance in Authoritarian Contexts


Muzammil M. Hussain, Vishnupriya Das, Fan Liang, Nadiya Kostyuk, Wei Chen, Nicholas Moore (University of Michigan, USA)

High-Tech Governance through Big Data Surveillance: Tracing the Development of India and China’s Population-Data Infrastructures, 2000 - Present 


Michael Meyen, Kerem Schamberger (LMU Munich, Germany) 

Authoritarian Media Steering in the Internet Age. A Comparative Study of 18 Mass Media Systems


Florian Toepfl, Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin, Germany) 

Mapping Comment Sections of News Websites across Authoritarian and Non-Authoritarian Contexts


Chair: Terhi Rantanen (London School of Economics, UK)



12:30 – 13:30 Lunch break



13:30 – 14:30 Panel II: Political Communication and New Media in Authoritarian Contexts: Case Studies


Juana Du (Royal Roads University, Canada), Hongzhong Zhang (Beijing Normal University, China) 

Media Credibility: A Comparison between Privately Owned Websites and State-Owned CCTV in the Context of China


Yusi Liu (Zhejiang University, China)

The Changing Mediated Environment and Collective Memory of Netizens in Authoritarian China: Revisit the Critical Period Hypothesis, Digital Immigrants, and Digital Shock 



Chair: Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin, Germany)


14:30 – 15:00 Coffee break 


15:00 – 16:00 Panel II: Continued


Sarah Oates (University Maryland, USA) 

Mapping Russian Propaganda in a Rewired World: Leveraging the Analytic Power of Strategic Narrative and Computational Linguistics


Daniela Stockmann (Hertie School of Governance, Germany), Ting Luo (Leiden University, Netherlands) 

Which Social Media Facilitate Online Public Opinion in China?


Chair: Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin, Germany)



16:00 – 16:30 Final remarks 



The pre-conference is organised by the Emmy Noether research group “Mediating (Semi-)Authoritarianism: The Power of the Internet in the Post-Soviet World,” Freie Universitaet Berlin.  

  Please download the programme here

participants: ica 2017 pre-conference


The selection process for the ICA 2017 pre-conference “The Consequences of the Internet for Authoritarian Politics: Comparative Perspectives” has been completed. The Emmy Noether research group would like to thank all the scholars who replied to the call for papers. We are now happy to announce the list of speakers and discussants who will participate in the event:


Svetlana Bodrunova (Saint Petersburg University, Russia)

Muzammil M. Hussain (University of Michigan, USA)

Du Juana (Royal Roads University, Canada)

Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin, Germany)

Ting Luo (Leiden University, Netherlands)

Paolo Mancini (University of Perugia, Italy)

Michael Meyen (LMU Munich, Germany)

Marcus Michaelsen (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, Netherlands)

Sarah Oates (University Maryland, USA)

Terhi Rantanen (London School of Economics, UK)

Kerem Schamberger (LMU Munich, Germany)

Danie Stockmann (Leiden University, Netherlands)

Joshua A. Tucker (New York University, USA)

Florian Toepfl (FU Berlin, Germany)

Katrin Voltmer (University of Leeds, UK)

Liu Yusi (Zhejiang University, China)

Hongzhong Zhang (Beijing Normal University, China) 


The preliminary programme of the pre-conference and the other details of the event will be published on this website by February 2017. 


We are delighted that so many distinguished scholars have found the topic of the pre-conference interesting. Non-speakers are also welcome to attend the event: please register for it on the ICA website. We are looking forward to seeing you all in San Diego!





Call for Papers: ICA 2017 Pre-conference

The Emmy Noether research group on “Mediating (Semi-)Authoritarianism: The Power of the Internet in the Post-Soviet World” will hold a pre-conference at the 67th annual conference of the International Communication Association due to take place on May 25-29, 2017 in San Diego, USA. The research group’s pre-conference proposal has been accepted by the ICA Organizing Committee.  

Below is the call for papers for the pre-conference. 

Time & Venue 

Date: May 25, 2017
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Location: San Diego Hilton Bayfront (onsite, conference hotel of the ICA annual conference 2017)

Over the past decade, a vibrant body of academic literature has emerged on the political consequences of the Internet for non-democratic politics. However, the majority of extant studies have focused on phenomena of political communication in one authoritarian regime only. By contrast, very few studies have aimed at comparing empirical findings from across different authoritarian contexts. Against this backdrop, this pre-conference explicitly aims at providing a forum for scholars from across the globe to discuss, and develop comparative perspectives on the consequences of the Internet for authoritarian politics.

In order to pursue this goal, we have invited a number of respected scholars in the field to contribute to the event. Invited speakers include Muzammil Hussain (University of Michigan, USA), Paolo Mancini (University of Perugia, Italy), Sarah Oates (University of Maryland, USA), and Katrin Voltmer (University of Leeds). In order to supplement the pre-conference programme, we would like to invite at least three types of additional submissions. Firstly, we explicitly welcome submissions that compare empirical data across different authoritarian contexts. Secondly, we are also interested in papers that present empirical findings from only one country, but that, at the theoretical level, explicitly aim at embedding them into a wider regional or global context. Such theoretically informed comparisons can be achieved, for instance, by referring to the lively recent debates around new types of responsive and competitive authoritarianism, or to the literature on authoritarian institutions. As a third type of submission, we also invite purely theoretical contributions.

Moreover, as a number of scholars have recently lamented, extant research on the conference topic has largely focused on either how oppositional activists leverage new digital tools to challenge authoritarian rule or how authoritarian elites suppress and censor online dissent. Against this backdrop, we are particularly keen to also discuss questions around how authoritarian elites pro-actively deploy the Internet to expand their communicative power. Why, how, and with what consequences, for instance, do authoritarian leaders across the globe reach out to their citizens via social networks? Why do they open up virtual participatory spaces that host, for example, online polls, online petitions, or virtual deliberative forums?

The topic of the pre-conference is situated at the intersection of two divisions of the ICA, the Political Communication and the Global Communication & Social Change divisions, which are cosponsoring the event. At a more abstract level, a key goal of the pre-conference is thus also to bring together scholars from these two communities, encouraging intellectual exchange across manifold disciplinary and methodological borders. Participants who would not like to contribute but would still like to attend the event are welcome to sign up on the ICA registration website as audience members. The participation fee, which is being charged to cover the two coffee breaks, is 50 USD.

The conference is organised by the Emmy Noether research group on “Mediating (Semi-)Authoritarianism: The Power of the Internet in the Post-Soviet World,” from the Freie Universität Berlin. All news regarding the conference, including its finalised program, will be published on this website. For additional information, please contact Anna Litvinenko or Florian Toepfl.  

Please email submissions – which can be of any format, from extended abstracts (800 words) to full papers (up to 10,000 words in length) – to our student assistant Daria Kravets. The deadline for submission is December 11, 2016. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out before January 1, 2017.