Privacy Research Across Cultural, Political, and Geographic Boundaries. ICA Post-Conference 2019

Washington, DC. May 29, 2019

Digital privacy is arguably one of the most important topics of the current times in digital communication. With the growing ubiquity of information and information-based tools and services, privacy has become both a resource and a currency in social, cultural, political, and economic interactions. Yet, the conceptualization of privacy itself is still at the heart of the scholarly debate, especially when viewed from a global, comparative perspective. Conceptions of privacy hold deep, cultural underpinnings, yet these dimensions are often underexplored in research that focuses on how privacy is valued, measured, and enacted. Likewise, researchers are seeking for guidance in order to engage with digital data while at the same time respecting privacy needs of persons involved in their studies. This conceptual plurality, coupled with socio-technical developments, makes comparative privacy research particularly challenging, despite its importance. We invite you to engage with this challenge.

Drawing on conversations and collaborations forged at ICA and in several local and regional research projects around the globe, this post-conference aims to attend to privacy’s cultural aesthetic, by bringing together scholars conducting research that examines cultural, political, and/or geographic aspects of privacy. The ultimate goal is to start a conversation within our discipline about the ways in which systematic comparative cross-cultural analyses of privacy might be conceptualized, theorized, and operationalized in ways that are both novel and authentic. We anticipate that the first half of this full day post-conference will be devoted to research presentations submitted through this call. The second half of the post-conference will focus on workshopping a framework for comparative analysis of privacy in broad informational contexts, including social media, health and fitness monitoring, digital literacy, and IoT devices. We will concentrate on articulating basic principles and a core analytical framework to be used by the group for ongoing comparative privacy projects, and building collaborative working groups to facilitate future research.

We seek submissions that focus on culturally specific and comparative approaches to the conceptualization and empirical study of privacy. Examples of work that falls under this broad umbrella may include efforts that (a) interrogate the mechanisms that reify or challenge national or cultural practices related to privacy; (b) examine privacy from multi- and cross-cultural perspectives; (c) discuss practical challenges and opportunities of conducting comparative research in the field; or (d) explore theoretical perspectives that might serve as heuristics for the comparative study of privacy across cultural contexts.

Submission logistics

At this time, we invite two types of submissions. First, we seek abstracts of 500 words (maximum) that describe research and its fit for the post conference. Second, we will also accept proposals for posters (up to 300 words). All submissions should be uploaded to the post-conference submission site no later than 11 February 2019. Selected authors of papers will be invited to submit complete manuscripts by 30 April 2019. Please submit all abstracts at:

The post-conference will take place on 29 May 2019 at Georgetown University. Participation in the event will require registration through ICA and a $50 fee to be paid through the ICA registration website.

Please direct any questions to Kelly Quinn (, Dmitry Epstein ( or Carsten Wilhelm (


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