Mary (Molly) Scudder

Listening impacts virtually all forms of political communication and is at the heart of democratic decision- making. Many of the concepts of greatest interest to scholars of political communication are mediated or effectuated by listening. These include democratic goods such as deliberation, representation, and persuasion, and democratic ills like polarization, misinformation, and exclusion. This special issue seeks submissions that illuminate this ubiquitous but underexamined aspect of political communication. We invite submissions that address questions like the following:

​These topics are particularly important in times of political crisis and contestation where listening to one’s political adversaries might be difficult or even democratically risky. Importantly, we can recognize that listening is central to political communication and required for democratic decision making, without assuming that it is the “answer” to particular challenges facing democracy today.

Incorporating insights from scholarship in other fields, including political theory, this special issue aims to provide a systematic and nuanced account of why and how listening matters for political communication, particularly in times of democratic crisis. In doing so it will accomplish two goals. First, it will produce novel insights into how listening relates to important political phenomena. Second, it will provide the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological foundation for the burgeoning literature on this important topic, planting future listening scholarship in rich ground.

Submissions for abstracts is now closed. 

By September 15, 2023 selected authors will be invited to submit full papers for peer review. These papers will be due by ​November 15, 2023. Full papers must adhere to the journal’s submission guidelines and should be no longer than 30 pages, inclusive of abstract, tables, references, and figures.

For questions or more information please contact guest editors:

Molly Scudder ( and Michael Neblo (