CfP: Games and society: From social interaction to social change (@ ECC2014)

The awareness of digital games has evolved rapidly in recent years, recognizing an activity earlier considered a practice for narrow and specialized audiences to be mainstream media entertainment for the masses. Since the mid nineties researchers have engaged in studying games as platforms for social interaction and as unique channels for exploration, experimentation and entertainment – however, much scientific and publication attention has been paid to the risks of digital games. As games are now obviously not a passing fad but an established cultural form, it is time for media scholars to engage with them as more than potential risks, and let the lively interaction of gamers and even deliberative aspects of digital games come much more into focus. One has to ask: If games are meaningful and supposed to have some impact on users and their daily life, couldn’t they even be used for positive outcomes, and social change?

The social effects might emanate from the games, their content, their mechanics, their embedding into the social reality of the users, but maybe also from the interaction of users. Many digital games now feature multiplayer modes for online and offline cooperation, so the experiences of the gamers do not only rely on a ‘manifest content’ written into the game by its producers, but also on the interaction of the gamers themselves. This is not a phenomenon limited to the multi-user games, most games are connected to active online communities  where players share cheats, walkthroughs, easter-eggs and spoilers, engage in theorycrafting and bragging.

The pre-conference “Games and society: From social interaction to social change” is interested in the social aspects of digital games. Submissions from all fields of communication studies, but also related disciplines like psychology, sociology, cultural studies, political research, business studies etc., are welcome. No preference is given to a specific methodological and theoretical approach, as long as the research is focusing on interaction, social and societal aspects of games, or the deliberative impact of digital games. Approaches might include (but are not limited) to:

  • Micro perspective/interaction perspective: Social interaction and communication in digital games (with other players and simulated social interaction/ communication processes with AIs), designing social interaction, effects of interaction and communication inside/outside the game
  • Meso level/groups & structure: Group building processes, group interaction, (re)construction of social structures in games, impact of games on everyday life/social structures (including families, friendship etc.)
  • Macro level/society: Games for social change, effects of games on society as a whole, the impact of games on larger societal systems (health, learning, economy)


Anyone wishing to propose a paper for presentation at the conference is invited to submit an anonymized extended abstract of no more than four pages (10000 characters including spaces) in APA style to the organizing committee before 15th May 2014. The abstracts will be subject to a peer review process. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 15th June at latest. The contact mail address is thorsten.quandt@uni-muenster.de .

When submitting the abstract, please include a separate cover page including the following contact details:

–          title

–          name

–          department/organization

–          address

–          e-mail

Abstracts should make it absolutely clear what the current status of the proposed work is. A preference is given to finished work ready for presentation (note: this includes theoretical/ conceptual papers, if the concept itself is the main object of presentation and not some related, yet unfinished empirical work). By sending in an abstract, the authors agree to personally present their research at the conference.

Location & Main Conference

ECC 2012 will take place at Universidade Lusófona (Lisbon, Portugal) from 12-15 November 2014. Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal. It is located on the right edge of the river Tagus, and just around a 2 hour flight from all the other major European cities. Lisbon enjoys a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate and it is known for its historic neighbourhoods, its great monuments and its various theatres and museums.

Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias is the largest nonpublic University in Portugal. With a student body of more than 9.000 students and 1.000 teachers, the university offers a very rich environment, either in scientific as in social and cultural terms.

The main ECC conference will provide a broad platform to meet and discuss the profound transformations that are taking place globally in the mass mediated societies. The proposed theme “Communication for Empowerment: Citizens, Markets, Innovations” opens a space for a vibrant discussion in the European academic scene. The main conference will offer a large variety of scientific panels, podium discussions and meetings. ECREA’s Sections, Networks, Temporary Working Groups will organize thematic sessions and or panels, covering a wider range of topics related to (mediated) communication. More information on the ECC 2014 and the respective Calls for Proposals can be found here:


During the main conference, the Temporary Working Group will organize a Business Meeting and a Panel with invited speakers, presenting selected research findings to the main ECREA audience.

About ECREA and the TWG “Digital Games Research”

ECREA is the academic society for communication scholars across (and beyond) Europe. Currently, ECREA counts more than 3000 members from all over the world. ECREA’s activities include the ECC conferences, summer schools, a book series, and many other activities to unite researchers in discussion and research.

The TWG “Digital Games Research” was founded in 2011, giving European communication scholars interested in computer and video games research a dedicated home in ECREA.

Additional Information

The language of the pre-conference is English. Full papers should be ready at least two weeks before the conference, so that conference participants have the opportunity to read them. Depending on the number, quality and coherence of the submissions, a publication of a proceedings volume will be considered.

The pre-conference participation fee will be EUR 65,-.

Further information about the pre-conference can be found at the TWG’s website:


We will update the website with the final programme and additional information in the coming months. Alternatively, information can be found at the Facebook presence of the TWG (-> ECREA TWG Digital Games Research).

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