Monday, December 23, 2019

Call for Papers: Journal of Visual Political Communication

Call for Papers: Journal of Visual Political Communication 

ISSN 2633-3732 | Online ISSN 2633-3740 


Special Issue: Public health in the public sphere 


Call for Papers can be found here >>


Advertising posters and election posters are generally recognized by the public as ways of persuading us to do something which is of benefit to the sender, namely buying their products or securing their representation in political assemblies. But when it comes to posters advocating public health, the objective is quite different: to persuade the readers to initiate some sort of personal change for their own good. In short, how do you persuade people to ’do the right thing’, and how do you convince them that it is in fact the right thing? 


Prominent examples of these campaigns include the use of condoms to stop veneral diseases, the combat against excessive consumption of alcohol, or appeals to quit smoking. But there have been numerous other fields of private life which have been subjected to persuasive communication: consumption of vegetables, of eggs, or of dairy products, and activities of physical exercise, to mention a few. All of these can be seen as a politization of the private sphere, and they are often conducted in the public sphere through posters, flyers, or advertising. 


The criticism against these kinds of campaigns range from liberal opposition to the ’nanny state’ to the defence of individual freedom, but a significant factor in the negative comments has been the visual design of the campaigns. They are more often than not designed by professionals from public relation and advertising, striving for maximum attention in the public, something which results in visually salient posters and ads. Thus, the campaigns are secured maximum attention in the public sphere and in the media, but at the same time, they arouse strong feelings in the public. People feel accused, they feel that they are being shamed, and in some cases they are even scared or disgusted by the images used. Critics point to these feelings as being counter-productive to the goal of public health campaigns, while defendants claim that it is necessary to adjust the visual profile of the campaigns to the surrounding visual culture to be able to make any impact. 


We are looking for papers exploring all aspects of the use of images in public health campaigns, in the form of case studies, comparative studies, or historical studies. Cultural and other contextual factors and how they influence the use of imagery is one point of interest to be addressed, but possible areas of research also include:


  • The use of images to scare the public into action.

  • The use of humour, compassion, or other instances of pathos, in text and image. 

  • Visual argumentation and the use of doxa in campaigns.

  • The intermediality of campaigns, e.g. the interplay between posters and other media, but also between public health campaigns and commercial advertising.

  • The status of the sender, e.g. the difference between governmental or other official institutions, and independant organization. What is expected of official bodies, and how does this affect their possibilities e.g. when it comes to visual expressions?

  • The study of the effect of different visual means in public health campaigns. 




In the spirit of multimodality, The Poster encourages scholars from both social and political science, as well as cultural studies, arts and communication studies, to submit proposals for work for publication. 


The journal is looking for:


  • Full papers: 7,000-9,000 words, plus illustrations, on the issue’s theme (for double-blind peer-review). Rich illustration of the text is welcomed. Theoretical papers as well as methodological discussion are welcome, but preferably in combination with empirical analysis of imagery. Case studies, comparisons across culture or historical studies are invited. 

  • Shorter reflections: maximum 4,000 words plus illustrations on the issue’s theme, e.g. observations regarding new tendencies, case studies opening for discussion or encouraging further studies, or critical comments on recent events within the field.

  • Reviews: reviews of relevant books, exhibitions and political gatherings, including critiques of contemporary historical revisionists. 




Abstracts (250 words) due 1 February 2020. 


Selected contributors will be informed in the following week if the journal would be interested in seeing a full manuscript. 


Full manuscripts due 1 April 2020. 


Please direct all submissions to Orla Vigsø at