CFP: Cyberbullying

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

The International Journal for the Semiotics of Law requests submissions for a special issue: A New Socio-Semiotic Digital Landscape in Communication – The Case of Cyberbullying.

Social media are key facilitators in the bullying process. Cyberspace creates new types of narratives where off-space becomes prevalent and operates in order to better navigate and creates nodes of activity between people. This navigation is, however, uncertain because it eases hyper connectivity, removes physical congregation and/or social, moral and/or ethical barriers, and creates a close e-proximity between different actors without revealing any identities (Wagner 2019). This composite space, or space-in-between (Wagner 2018), brings both the potential victim and the bully into close proximity as they meet by proxy (servers). This space is loose and modular (Eck and Clarke 2003) while making the process of detecting and capturing crime data all the more difficult (Bossler and Holt 2009, Reyns et al 2011). Therefore the Internet is an environment where time and space are both relative. The idea is then to detect high connectivity factors with a specific temporal axis leading to a cluster of relations that could render feasible the detection of cyber bullying, similar to a configuration in IT technologies (Wagner 2019). However when connectivity is low and has been substituted by extension replacing space and time emplacement, cyber bullying then becomes highly difficult to capture leading to a weakness in detecting crimes (Holt and Bossler 2009).

Cyber bullying is the expression of an aggressive language which purpose is to negate victims and to generally assert power with an abusive content, which is a multifaceted phenomenon that insists on physical appearance (25%), gender or sexual orientation (25%), ethnicity or national origin (25%), and other issues (25%) (Unesco Report 2010). But cyber bullying remains quite distinctive from physical aggressiveness, as most youngsters use social media as a way to polarize attention from others so as to become “trendy” for the rest of the e-community, with an exponential increase in likes on their profiles, be they real or fake. The approach explored here in this Special Issue relies on detecting the linguistic phenomena used, either explicitly or implicitly, to express feelings, emotions within short messages, and/or with the use of emoticons (Wagner 2019, Oràsan 2018, Heaven 2017, Cohn 2015) leading to specific legal case analyses.

We will consider papers dealing with cyber bullying and/or bullying using any types of social media with specific case analyses and substantial case analyses. It could be a linguistic, legal, semiotic, and/or socio-linguistic analysis taking into high consideration contentious issues about their uses. We are expecting papers coming from different countries in order to better understand these phenomena.

Submission Info:

We will accept up to 15 papers of almost 8,000 words (reference included). Please send your abstract (300 to 500 words) both to Anne Wagner ( and Xu Youping (

Abstracts are due: April 30, 2019 and full papers by September 1, 2019.


About the author

Library Technology Specialist, West Virginia University College of Law