Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
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The Electronic Journal of Communication /
La Revue Electronique de Communication

Electronic Journal of Communication (EJC)
Special Issue: "Romancing (on) the internet"

Do romance and technology mix?

Is it possible that computer-mediated communication (CMC), once considered a cold and impersonal tool suited only for terse business information exchanges, might actually be capable of helping lovers find one another and build romantic relationships? In recent years, scholarly studies, the popular press, and our everyday experiences indicate that the answer is a definite "Yes!" However, our knowledge of the extent of this phenomenon remains fragmented and underdeveloped, as does an understanding of the communication processes involved.

This special issue will present the best new research on romance via the internet. We invite scholarship that addresses the topic broadly, conceptualized to include romantic relationships initiated, developed, maintained, transitioned, and/or ended via one or more of the various internet-based communication technologies.

Empirical pieces, both qualitative and quantitative, are welcome for consideration, as are reviews of literature and theory ("think") pieces. What each submission should have in common is a solid contribution to literature on romance and communication technologies. Of particular interest is scholarship that takes a communicative approach to the topic, i.e., that examines a chosen aspect through the lens of interaction and communication theories. In other words, scholarship that approaches CMC as an acronym for "communication mediated by computer" to reflect a foregrounding of the communicators and their communication process (rather than the communication hardware).

The following questions are only some of the possible topics but reflect a communicator/communication emphasis:

What are the parallels and what are the differences between relationships experienced primarily online and those experienced primarily face-to-face?

Are relationships experienced primarily online built and maintained with different practices, perceptions, and processes than those experienced primarily face-to-face?

Do the conventional relationships sequences or phases, observed for relationships experienced primarily face-to-face, also accurately describe relationships experienced primarily online?

How do partners in relationships experienced primarily online manage the dialectical tensions that exist in relationships experienced primarily face-to-face?

Do relationships experienced primarily online exhibit perceptual distortions (positive and/or negative)? Are those distortions different than those in relationships experienced primarily face-to-face?

Are online relationship activities as real, substantial, and consequential as those experienced face-to-face?

What is "lost" or missing in relationships experienced primarily online and what is "lost" or missing in relationships experienced primarily face-to-face?

Are relationships experienced primarily online "real" (whatever that might mean) or virtual (whatever that might mean)?

Do assumptions about relationships, which emerge from the literature on face-to-face relationships, apply to relationships experienced primarily online? What insights do relationships experienced primarily online provide that help scholars strengthen existing theory about all relationships (online or offline)?

The special issue is scheduled for publication in late 2005. Deadline for completed manuscripts is Monday, May 2, 2005. Submissions can be either electronic (.doc or .rtf format only, please) or hard copies. Inquiries about possible topics are welcome. Submissions and inquiries should be directed to:

Patrick B. O'Sullivan, PhD
Special Issue Editor, EJOC
Department of Communication 4480
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790,(309) 438-2688 voice, (309) 438-3048 fax