Call for Papers


Knowledge Management & E-Learning (KM&EL)

(Indexed by SCOPUS)


Special Issue on


Non-Use in the Age of the Post-Digital


Guest Editors


Dr. Claes Thorén

Department of Informatics and Media,

Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden



Dr. Jenny Eriksson Lundström

Department of Informatics and Media,

Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden



Prof. Mats Edenius

Department of Informatics and Media,

Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden



The concept of “the digital society” has not only come to equate progress in the “golden age of digital innovation”, but is often seen as a fundamental aspiration of late modernity. Digital technologies are today integral to nearly all aspects of society, from the business sector, education to civic involvement, where citizens are not just citizens but have become digital citizens and digital users, with universal access to information technologies. However, the term “digital user” is a complex and multi-faceted concept – technologies can be used in many different ways, and to varying degrees. “Digital user” would be almost impossible to discuss without its counterpart; “digital non-user”.


Now we have entered into an era where practices revive older media technologies, not merely reusing them, but repurposing them in relation to, as a reaction against, inspired by, dictated by, transformed by, compelled by, curated by, following the mainstream of, digital media technologies: flip phones as anti-smartphones, vinyl records and cassette tapes as anti-streaming, analog film as anti-digital cameras, or as a seemingly anachronistic phenomenon that does not follow traditionally linear models of technological innovation. What does this post-digital age entail for the digital user/non-user?


This special issue of the KM&EL international journal is dedicated to exploration of the potential of non-use, as a concept, context, phenomenon and practice. Conventionally, non-use of technology has been understood and critiqued in terms of lack or deficit constituting a clear division between digital haves and have-nots.  Normative responses to such “lack” is to designate non users as individuals that should either be assimilated into modern technological use or be dismissed as outliers and ignored. In other words, individuals who do not use a particular technology (such as a computer or the Internet) tend to be portrayed as lacking in terms of a skill set, ability or socio-economic potential or opportunity, an argument that oversimplifies the absence of use as binary opposites. There is a need to nuance the discussion by recognizing the multiple facets of digital use entails. We see non-use not as something ready to become absent in the digital society, neither in practice nor theory. Non-use is not a negative space. Rather the opposite. Non-use can be active, meaningful, motivated, considered, structured, specific, directed and productive.


From this outset we invite papers that both theoretically and empirically deepen our understanding of non-use in its varieties and forms. We invite papers that explore advances in the theorization and application of non-use.


The primary contribution of this special issue will be to highlight actual trends and challenges in research in non-use with the aim to stimulate innovative research and new insights in the domains, theories, models and practices in this research topic.


The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:


  • Empirical investigations into non-use from the individual’s perspective, going beyond existing explanations of non-users of technology (such as material and cognitive deficiency, technophobia and ideological refusal etc.)
  • Exploring conceptual understandings of non-use of digital technologies
  • Exploring conceptual bases through which non-use can be understood and investigated
  • Novel empirical studies that shed light on combinations of different kinds of use and non-use and its outcomes
  • Ethical issues for taking action, the making of statements and their interpretations related to non-use seriously
  • Non-use beyond specific circumstances of use
  • Non-use, innovation and edge thinking
  • Learning and non-use
  • Managing non-use, strategies for accommodating non-users
  • Practicing non-use
  • Ecologies and economies of non-use
  • Non-use as DIY, workarounds and quality assurance



1.     Selwyn, N. (2003). Apart from technology: Understanding people's non-use of information and communication technologies in everyday life. Technology in Society, 25(1), 99-116.

2.     Thorén, C., & Kitzmann, A. (2015). Replicants, imposters and the real deal: Issues of non-use and technology resistance in vintage and software instruments. First Monday, 20(11): 10.


Important Dates  


Extended abstracts (500-750 words) due: 30th October, 2016

Feedback from editors on abstracts: 15th November, 2016

Full Submissions due: 15th January, 2017

Notification of acceptance: 1st April, 2017

Planned Publication: June 2017 (Vol. 9. No. 2)


Submission Instructions


Electronic submission through EasyChair is required:


Papers must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. A standard double-blind review process will be used for selecting papers to be published in this special issue. Authors should follow the instructions outlined in the KM&EL Website (see URL


For more information about the KM&EL, please visit the web site:

Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)
ISSN 2073-7904


Maintained and Developed by:

Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong