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01.09.2004

CULTURE AND COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION: TOWARD NEW UNDERSTANDINGS

Special issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Guest Editors:
Charles Ess (cmess@drury.edu)
Fay Sudweeks (sudweeks@murdoch.edu.au)
School of Information Technology, Murdoch University .

IMPORTANT DATES

Proposals due: October 1, 2004
Full papers due: April 15, 2005
Anticipated publication: January 2006

Gert Hofstede's oft-cited dimensions of culture, along with Edward T. Hall's frameworks for understanding culture and communication (including his distinctions between high content/low context and high context/low content cultures, and between polychronic and monochronic perceptions of time) have emerged as methodological starting points for a considerable range of empirical research into how far extant CMC technologies succeed or fail in fostering cross-cultural communication online.

At the same time, these frameworks can be challenged in a variety of ways. First of all, such frameworks inherit the risks and difficulties surrounding the notion of culture in general. Too often, our efforts to define cultural characteristics assume a static and largely hermetically-sealed notion of cultureone that is, in many instances, operationally assumed to coincide with membership in a given nation- state or group defined by a specific geographical boundary. Moreover, the efforts of cultural theorists such as Hofstede and Hall to analyze and define culture lead to generalizations that run the risk of falling into overly simple stereotypes and binary oppositions. By contrast, more careful reflection on culture should reveal that whatever else we mean by the term, cultures are fluid, not static; members of different cultures constantly intermix, hybridize, and develop their own distinctive collocations of diverse cultural elements. Moreover, given the complexity of human beings and their identification with multiple cultures and subcultures, it is by no means clear how far such characterizations as high content/low context and high context/low content are adequate explanations of human behavior.

For this special issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication , we invite submissions that explore (a) the utility and limits of Hall's and Hofstede's and related frameworks for CMC research, and/or (b) alternative frameworks for researching culture that explicitly seek to move beyond previously identified weaknesses and limits in Hall and Hofstede, et al., and that result in fruitful and insightful findings as regards CMC.

SUBMISSION PROCEDURES

Potential authors should submit a preliminary proposal of 500 words by October 1, 2004, to the issue editors Charles Ess (cmess@drury.edu) and Fay Sudweeks (sudweeks@murdoch.edu.au).

The proposal should indicate (a) the theoretical bases and/or earlier research results to be used in analyzing, critiquing, and moving beyond Hall's and related frameworks of cultural analysis, and/or (b) alternative frameworks of cultural analysis, to be used for specific empirical research whose goal is to test the fruitfulness and/or limits of these frameworks, as applied to one or more types of CMC (e.g., the Internet, the Web, and/or mobile communication). In addition, proposals should clearly indicate the data to be analyzed, the methods used, the actual or anticipated findings of the empirical analysis, and the implications of these findingsincluding how the findings may confirm and/or point to limitations of the cultural framework(s) used in the analysis.

Proposals should demonstrate awareness of key references in the culture and communication debates. For potentially useful sources, prospective authors may want to review one or more publications related to the conferences on Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication [CATaC], for example, Macfadyen et al. (2004); see also the CATaC website at http://www.it.murdoch.edu.au/catac/.

Since JCMC is an interdisciplinary journal, authors should plan for papers that will be accessible to non-specialists, and should make their papers relevant to an interdisciplinary audience. In addition, judicious use of the multimedia possibilities of web publication are encouraged, e.g., screen shots, photos, etc.

Earlier submissions and questions are welcome.

Authors whose proposals are accepted for inclusion will be invited to submit a full paper of roughly 7,000-10,000 words by April 15, 2005.

Anticipated publication date for the issue is January 2006.

Questions and submissions should be e-mailed to the special issue editors Charles Ess (cmess@drury.edu) and Fay Sudweeks (sudweeks@murdoch.edu.au).

REFERENCE

Macfadyen, L. P., Roche, J., and Doff, S. (2004). Communicating across Cultures in Cyberspace: A Bibliographical Review of Online Intercultural Communication. Hamburg : Lit-Verlag.

http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/cfpculture.html

 
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