Research Topic

The Language of Technology Policies and Politics

About this Research Topic

Language can be deployed strategically to define what existing laws apply to new and emerging technologies and where new laws and regulations may be needed. Language also shapes perceptions of the scope, importance and urgency of a technology policy; its feasibility, target populations; and regulatory options and implications. In turn, policy narratives can bind policy actors together with common language of meaning and purpose.

Ride-share companies, for example, refer to themselves as technology platforms to avoid some transportation-related regulations. “Innovation” is invoked to forestall heavier regulatory approaches. And advocates warning of impending cybersecurity threats speak of a potential “cyber Pearl Harbor” or “cyber 9/11” to communicate the problem’s urgency and the consequences of inaction.

This Research Topic explores the use of language to influence the politics of technology, including debates over whether to regulate particular technologies and how to do so; the use of rhetoric to create and shape policy images of various technologies; and differences in how the same technology is framed across policy venues and in different media. Scholars who study the use of language in politics and public policy and the impact and regulation of technology are invited to submit their work to this Research Topic. All methodological approaches are welcome, as are interdisciplinary studies that examine the cross section of politics, public policy, rhetoric, and communication.

Examples of topics to be explored include, but are not limited to:

• How particular words, phrases, and heuristic tools are used to describe technologies and their effects during political debate and in policy analysis
• Strategies by and contestation among advocates to shape the use of language in defining technologies and their effects
• Changes over time in the language used by policymakers and advocates to describe the benefits and drawbacks of technologies
• How statutory language influences the regulation of technology
• Barriers to the use of common language to describe technologies
• The diffusion of technology-related language across political venues and systems


Keywords: Technology, Language, Policy, Rhetoric, Perceptions, Regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Language can be deployed strategically to define what existing laws apply to new and emerging technologies and where new laws and regulations may be needed. Language also shapes perceptions of the scope, importance and urgency of a technology policy; its feasibility, target populations; and regulatory options and implications. In turn, policy narratives can bind policy actors together with common language of meaning and purpose.

Ride-share companies, for example, refer to themselves as technology platforms to avoid some transportation-related regulations. “Innovation” is invoked to forestall heavier regulatory approaches. And advocates warning of impending cybersecurity threats speak of a potential “cyber Pearl Harbor” or “cyber 9/11” to communicate the problem’s urgency and the consequences of inaction.

This Research Topic explores the use of language to influence the politics of technology, including debates over whether to regulate particular technologies and how to do so; the use of rhetoric to create and shape policy images of various technologies; and differences in how the same technology is framed across policy venues and in different media. Scholars who study the use of language in politics and public policy and the impact and regulation of technology are invited to submit their work to this Research Topic. All methodological approaches are welcome, as are interdisciplinary studies that examine the cross section of politics, public policy, rhetoric, and communication.

Examples of topics to be explored include, but are not limited to:

• How particular words, phrases, and heuristic tools are used to describe technologies and their effects during political debate and in policy analysis
• Strategies by and contestation among advocates to shape the use of language in defining technologies and their effects
• Changes over time in the language used by policymakers and advocates to describe the benefits and drawbacks of technologies
• How statutory language influences the regulation of technology
• Barriers to the use of common language to describe technologies
• The diffusion of technology-related language across political venues and systems


Keywords: Technology, Language, Policy, Rhetoric, Perceptions, Regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

03 January 2021 Abstract
03 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

03 January 2021 Abstract
03 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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