Political Communication Division

Conference Call for Papers


Frank Esser, Vice Chair

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Phone: +41 44 6352044 

Email: frank.esser@uzh.ch

The Political Communication Division supports research and theory development at the intersection of politics and communication. Political communication involves creating, shaping, disseminating, and processing information among actors from the political system, the media, and the public, as well as the effects of such communication. Political communication today is initiated by a multitude of actors (with very different interests), who use a variety of different channels (including social media platforms) to spread their messages. Studies of communication dealing with governments, media, policy, political actors, citizens, campaigns, platforms, social movements and advocacy groups are all within the purview of the division. Papers that address political communication problems at all levels of analysis (from the individual to the institutional, from the local to the global) using a variety of theories and methods are welcome. 

At business meetings, members of our division have repeatedly advocated that the focus of our conference program should be on fully completed papers, because this format allows reviewers to best identify strengths and weaknesses of submissions. We also accept a small number of strong panel proposals that are focused on cutting-edge topics and are diverse in terms of methodologies, theoretical standpoints or nationalities of the presenters. Since the Covid-19 pandemic has limited the research capacity of many of our members, we will exceptionally allow “works in progress” for the Denver 2021 conference – these are short papers of 3000-4000 words.

The division accepts submissions in three formats:

1. Full completed research papers.  These submissions remain the standard format of our division and have a minimum length of 6000 and a maximum length of 8000 words, including references (but excluding tables, figures or other illustrative material). Submitters must delete all identifying information before submitting a paper. When submitting the paper make sure to select at least two topical keywords and one method keyword out of the long list. More specific keywords can be added on the first page of the paper.  

Important: Please note that papers must adhere to the guidelines in the general ICA call for papers.  Specifically, papers MUST NOT contain any identifying information and may not have been previously published or accepted for publication.  Submission of the same paper or proposal to more than one division is not allowed. Papers containing author names or submitted to more than one division will not undergo review.

2. Panel submissions. Panels provide a good forum for the discussion of new approaches, timely topics, ongoing political developments, innovative ideas, and debates in the field.  If you plan to submit a panel, please submit the following details: (a) Panel Theme or Title, (b) a 75-word description of the panel for the conference program, (c) a 400-word rationale, providing justification for the panel and the participating panelists, (d) 350-word (max) abstract of each paper, (e) Names of panel participants (usually 4 presenters, plus a designated respondent), and (f) Name of panel chair/organizer. In terms of diversity, we expect a strong panel proposal to (a) include contributions of at least two different countries, (b) feature gender balance, and (c) include not more than one contribution from a single faculty, department or school.

3. Works in Progress (Short Papers). We are trying this format for the first time this year, because of the special conditions around Covid-19. Short work-in-progress papers of 3000-4000 words in length allow scholars to present ongoing work that could not be translated in a fully completed research paper by the deadline. Short work-in-progress papers should include succinct and sufficient information about research objectives, significance, methods, and preliminary (or expected) findings. Work-in-progress contributions also provide an opportunity for late-breaking results, for instance regarding the US presidential election, to be presented more fully at the conference. We expect work-in-progress papers to be based on high quality original research that further our understanding of political communication. They will undergo their own peer-review process and be allocated to designated sessions. Details will be decided by the Program Chair, who will report on the experience at the next business meeting.  

Important: Submissions of this format may in no case be shorter than 3000 words and MUST include the words Work In Progress” in the TITLE of the paper. Papers violating these rules or containing author names or being submitted to more than one division will be desk-rejected.

The number of submissions originating from the same scholar is limited to three first authored papers by ICA regulations. Given limited space on the program, the division may accept only one first-authored submission per person. The division especially encourages participation from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. 

We ask all paper submitters to also volunteer as reviewers for the division. We need you!

If you have any questions concerning these formats or general enquiries regarding your individual submission, please contact Frank Esser (frank.esser@uzh.ch).