CALL FOR ABSTRACTS (9/30/19 Submission Deadline) - Urban Communication Reader IV: Cities as Communicative Change Agents

Erin McClellan's picture
Call for Publications
September 30, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Cultural History / Studies, Public Policy, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies


Description: Change is a defining aspect of the urban condition. As cities face unique challenges, they attempt to evolve, adapt, and lead the world into an uncertain future, especially as the age of artificial intelligence and other digital technologies attempt to make cities more “efficient.” The inevitable increase in demographic, ideological, and socio-cultural diversity that accompanies urban growth is similarly worthy of our attention. Over 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci designed an “ideal city” that attempted to reshape how we think and act in cities so as to prevent another outbreak of the plague. Today, the world is facing climate change, wealth inequality, housing crises, food shortages, and global mass migration; cities are at the heart of these problems and their solutions. We see cities as embedded and necessary communicative change agents in addressing these crises.


Lewis, Schmisseur, Stephens, & Wier (2006) identify three roles of change agents: (1) promoting communication and participation, (2) facilitating the change process, and (3) creating a vision. This volume provides a collection of urban communication research that historically examines, presently analyzes, and creatively imagines the future of cities as change agents. By focusing on urban change through the lens of communication, processual understandings of cities as dynamic sites formed through the interplay between both concrete cases and conceptual ideas can be further explored. Theorists of urban communication draw attention to the discursive and material texts that shape urban spaces and aim to transform communicative practices and interaction, and practitioners of urban communication often focus on implementing communication approaches to organizing, evaluating, and/or creating policy to guide the way that cities function in everyday life. Urban communication scholars thus far have examined discourses of neighborhood transition (Makagon, 2010), the impact of new technologies on urban sociality (Gumpert & Drucker, 2001), and changing conceptions of public space (Carragee, 2007), to name a few. An urban communication paradigm provides an ideal mode for addressing the symbolic dimensions of urban life and invites us to (re)consider the means by which city dwellers and global communities can participate in the discourses that shape their environments.


By including scholarship from functional, critical, and cultural approaches to research, in addition to balancing work that emphasizes specific urban change with case studies and on-the-ground work that (re)considers how we have, can, and/or should approach urban change, this volume will illustrate the various ways that urban communication scholarship addresses and inspires urban change.


Contents: Suggested topics of chapters include, but are not limited to:

  • rural-urban connections
  • migration
  • climate
  • wealth disparities
  • housing
  • access to and distribution of food
  • cultural and social capital
  • power structures
  • systems of inequity and/or injustice
  • community design and/or development
  • gentrification
  • shared governance
  • public art and/or urban aesthetics
  • tourism
  • other aspects of urban life that are experiencing dynamic changes in the way we communicate within and about them

The editors will organize two to three distinct sections of the book according to the submissions received that best serves the cohesiveness of the book proposal as a whole.


Target Audience: Possible  audiences  for  this  book  include  upper-division undergraduate and graduate academic audiences, especially communication scholars as well as cross-disciplinary academic audiences cutting across the areas of communication, rhetoric, urban studies, urban sociology, cultural anthropology, urban design, urban planning, political science, public policy, community studies, and development studies.


Submission Procedures


Timetable: Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit 500 word abstract on or before September 30, 2019 to the co-editors. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by October 15, 2019 about the status of their proposals. Full chapters should be submitted by November 15, 2019.


Length: Finished manuscripts may be up to 10,000 words, including references, or about 30 single-sided, double-spaced manuscript pages.


Style: Authors should use APA Style. Please refer to the Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, for the appropriate way to format in-text citations and references. Tables, figures, and references should also be formatted in accordance with APA style.


Title Page: Every manuscript should begin with a title page that includes the following information: Title of the manuscript and author name/s, including a current e-mail address for all authors and a postal address of the institution with which each author will be affiliated during the time of the manuscript’s development. Please indicate a corresponding author if the submission is co-authored.


To encourage timely and appropriate replies to inquiries and submissions, please forward all related materials electronically (attachment in .docx or .rtf file format preferred) to all three authors:


erin daina mcclellan <erinmcclellan [at]>

Yongjun Shin <yongjun.shin [at]>

Curry Chandler <curry.chandler [at]>

Contact Info: 

erin daina mcclellan, Associate Professor, Communication Department, Boise State University

Yongjun Shin, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Bridgewater State University

Curry Chandler, Doctoral candidate, Communication, the University of Pittsburgh