The Unit's core research team includes its Co-Directors, Professor Ben O'Loughlin, and Dr Cristian Vaccari, together with Dr Akil Awan, Dr James Sloam, Dr Joanna Szostek, and Dr Jinghan Zeng. We currently supervise a large number of PhD students. For details, see the People section.
The Unit's network inside Royal Holloway incorporates academic staff from the Department of Politics and International Relations, the Department of Media Arts, the School of Management, the Department of Psychology and the Department of Computer Science.
What is New Political Communication?
The term New Political Communication, which we introduced in 2007, refers to the three distinct but related foci of our research agenda:
- New media and communication technologies, particularly the internet, global digital television, mobile technologies and the assorted media forms and practices that make up the increasingly converged but pluralistic information and communication environment that defines the contemporary era.
- New political behaviour, institutions and policy challenges that shape and are shaped by the rapidly changing information and communication environment.
- New theoretical dilemmas, methodological concerns, technologies and techniques that arise from the need to effectively research these growing phenomena.
From debates about the Internet's impact on citizen activism, parties, election campaigns, to concerns over international security, privacy and surveillance; from the rise of blogging and social media as threats to traditional models of journalism, to controversies at the international level over how and if internet media should be regulated and controlled; from the regulatory concerns created by powerful new media corporations, to massive programs of organizational reform taking place in the name of "big data," what we term new political communication is continually in the headlines. There has been a steady stream of high quality research literature in this field over the last decade.
The New Political Communication Unit is an international leader in this new sphere, bringing together scholars with an interest in understanding the evolution of the information and communication environments which shape and are shaped by politics and policy-making.
The Unit is concerned with theoretical and conceptual debates, political institutions and practices, and how new communication technologies create new policy problems for liberal democratic and non liberal-democratic states, not to mention their roles in the global system. This combined focus - on theory, institutions and practices, on the most interesting policy problems, and on multiple levels of analysis - will provide comprehensive coverage of some of the most important developments of our age.
Aims and Objectives (2007)
- To become a centre of research excellence in the area of new political communication.
- To support and grow a research community around issues central to new political communication.
- To become a focal point for organizing workshops, visiting speaker programmes, conferences, policy events, and publishing working papers.
- To act as an organisational focus for securing research funding from major UK and international funding bodies.
- To run a Masters programme.
- To recruit and successfully supervise to completion research students in our fields.
- To generate links with academic staff in other departments at RHUL and to network effectively with the wider academic community, nationally, and internationally.