Advancing Digital Disconnection Research

ECREA Pre-conference, Braga, October 2, 2020.

Digital disconnection is a relatively new topic, but the number of studies are growing. This pre-conference sets out to assess and advance the field.

See also: Call for papers - Convergence special issue

The ECRA conference is postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 situation. We intend to organise the pre-conference in connection with ECREA. Information on registration will be found on the ECREA website when new dates are set.  

Call for abstracts

Over the past years, digital disconnection has emerged as a research topic attracting interest across media and communication studies. The idea of “digital disconnection” as well as related concepts such as non-use, abstention, resistance, avoidance and detox are discussed in a growing number of publications, with new research endeavours emerging in various subfields. However, questions are also raised about what disconnection really means and how we can study it, about paradoxes and inherent dilemmas that affect research on disconnection as well as the phenomenon itself. The time has come to critically consider the contributions, challenges and promises of digital disconnection research.  

This preconference invites papers on digital disconnection as a concept and area of research, and engages participants in a dialogue to develop a more systematic research agenda. By bringing together scholars from different theoretical and empirical traditions, the pre-conference seeks to consolidate digital disconnection studies as a research field, and build foundations for further theoretical and empirical advances.  

The preconference invites reflective papers, works in progress and emerging ideas. We welcome conceptual, theoretical and methodological discussions, literature reviews, provocations and interventions, and empirical studies with different contexts and methodologies. We encourage all contributions to consider how their approaches to digital disconnection research intersect with other developments in media and communication research, related disciplines and various sub-fields.

We particularly welcome submissions on:

  • Key concepts, perspectives and frameworks in research on digital disconnection
  • Investigations and critiques of intensified media involvement as a communicative condition, and of reactions and ambivalences to it
  • Contradictions, dilemmas and opportunities in analysis of digital disconnection
  • Innovative methodological approaches to studying disconnection
  • Counter-cultural movements and the politics and communities of detoxing, or other cultural and social expressions of disconnection
  • Empirical studies of user experiences and practices of regulating attention, e.g. strategic configurations of media use
  • Empirical studies of industry responses, practices and policies in relation to disconnection.

Submission and selection process

Presentations at the conference are based on abstracts of 500 words, to be submitted by April 2, 2020, to

Extended deadline due to the Covid-19 situation: May 15, 2020

The abstracts should include main idea/argument, research questions and key concepts, theoretical and/ or methodological discussion and analysis (if relevant).


  • All submitted abstracts must be anonymous with no reference to author(s). Submit the abstract as an e-mail attachment and include name, affiliation and contact details in the e-mail message.  
  • The abstracts will be subject to anonymous peer review. Decisions on acceptance will be made by May 1, 2020 June 15, 2020.
  •  Authors of accepted abstracts are expected to attend the pre-conference and present in person.  

A special issue on the theme of the pre-conference will be proposed with invited contributions and a separate selection process announced at a later date.

Practical information  

The preconference will take place on Friday, October 2, 2020, and will close before the opening of the ECREA main conference that afternoon. 

There will be a small fee to cover attendance, lunch and refreshments at the pre-conference, of approximately 35 € (30 € for ECREA members and PhD candidates). 

Details and payment procedures will be announced at a later date.  

Published Nov. 28, 2019 5:16 PM - Last modified June 25, 2020 12:15 PM