Paul Bernal - Why do governments always get internet regulation wrong? Tuesday 30th April 5pm Queens 170

This evening Paul Bernal from UEA will present a talk to NewPolCom entitled, Why do governments always get internet regulation wrong? Because they don't embrace the mess...

Time: Tuesday 30th April 5pm

Place: Queens 170

Please find details here of Paul’s talk:

Why do governments always get internet regulation wrong? Because they don’t embrace the mess…

Dr Paul Bernal–Research Group: Media, Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law, University of East Anglia.  

The clamour for governments to ‘regulate' the internet has never been greater. They’re worried about offensive speech, about trolling and cyber-bullying, about fake news and political manipulation, about piracy and other forms of copyright breach. The internet, according to some of these accounts, is a dangerous place, a ‘wild west’ that needs to be reined in and controlled. And yet their efforts are largely ineffective - or worse, are actually counterproductive. Plans to address trolling end up creating tools for trolls to use on their victims. Attempts to deal with ‘fake news’ end up making fake news more effective and pushed nearer to the top of search lists. More criminal offences and stronger enforcement make almost no inroads in trolling. The question is why this happens - and the answer, across the board, is a failure to face up to the complexity, the messiness of the internet, but instead to fall into a series of classical traps based on oversimplified views of how the internet works. In this talk, Paul Bernal will explain why and how this happens - and what can be done to improve the situation.

O'Loughlin to speak in Poland on UK soft power after Brexit

On 26 April 2019 Collegium Civitas in Warsaw will host a conference examining Poland and the UK in a Post-Brexit World. Poland and the UK have often had positive and significant relations within Europe, each trying to keep Germany and France in check at key moments, and both assertive in their postures towards Russia. All of this is achieved through communication - through diplomacy, signals and gestures. But with the UK likely to leave the EU, this leaves Poland alone to try to balance against a French-German axis and it leaves Britain to find a new voice outside of Europe and with which to speak to Europe.

At the conference, Ben O’Loughlin will consider how debates and strategies around UK soft power in the past five years indicate what voice and role the UK would most usefully find.

If you are in Warsaw, do join!


A New Footing? Poland and the UK in a Post-Brexit World 


26 April 2019

Łazarski University, ul Świeradowska 43, 02-662, Warszawa

(Room 273F)

(Contact: Collegium Civitas)

10am Opening Remarks

Martin Dahl (Faculty Dean, Łazarski University)

Alister Miskimmon (Queens University, Belfast)

Stephen Steele (UK Embassy, Warsaw)

Katarzyna Szczepaniak (The British Council, Warsaw)

11.00 – 12.30

Jan Grzymski (Łazarski University) ‘Brexit and the Limits of Europe’ 

Quincy Cloet and Kerry Longhurst (University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Collegium Civitas) ‘Domestic Leakage and Polish Foreign and Security Policy’ 

Vahan Hunanyan (Krzysztof Skubiszewski Foundation) ‘Poland’s Eastern Policy’

Alister Miskimmon Chair (Queens University, Belfast)


14 – 15.30

Marcin Zaborowski (Łazarski University) ‘Implications of Brexit for Central and Eastern Europe’

Ben O’ Loughlin (Royal Holloway University of London)  ‘British Soft Power in a Time of European Disintegration’

Agnieszka Nitza (Collegium Civitas) ‘Exploring the Idea of Soft Power – Applicable Concept or Non-Starter?’

Spasimir Domaradzki Discussant (Łazarski University)

The drama of politics: Ellen Watts to present at PSA 2019, Nottingham

Recent NewPolCom PhD and current Teaching Fellow Dr. Ellen Watts is presenting at the Political Studies Association (PSA) annual conference on 15 April 2019 in Nottingham. She is part of a brilliant panel organised by the PSA’s Media & Politics Group (MPG) called The drama of politics, featuring Dr. Katy Parry and Dr. Beth Johnson (Leeds) as well as Prof. Kay Richardson (Liverpool). Ellen’s paper is on Celebrities as Political Representatives - you’ll find her abstract below.

Panel - The drama of politics 

This panel considers the intersections of politics and drama, exploring both the portrayal of politics on screen and the activism of actors off screen. We consider both the manner in which formal politics is represented in television drama through the fictionalised work of politicians and the way in which actors use their celebrity to fight for social and political change through varied political channels. Building on scholarship which argues that popular culture provides valuable spaces through which to examine political values and tensions (Corner & Richardson, 2008; van Zoonen & Wring, 2012), this panel looks at how interventions on and off screen potentially shape understandings of politics in the UK.

Ellen Watts - Celebrities as Political Representatives: Capital, Credibility, and Continuity

The ability of celebrities to become influential political actors is evident, but the process enabling this is not. While Driessens (2013) proposes conceptualising celebrity as a form of capital, it remains unclear how celebrities obtain political recognition. I argue that a return to the question of whether and how celebrities act as ‘legitimate’ political representatives is needed to address this (Street, 2004). Building on Driessens’ concept of celebrity capital, I argue that the ability of celebrities to exchange this for political capital is contingent on their claims to represent others (Saward, 2010). In this paper I take Emma Watson as a case study to explore how this process works in practice, drawing on ethnography of her online feminist book group Our Shared Shelf. I show how Watson uses her resources – including her large social media followings – to perform three types of claim to represent feminists. Through interviews with Our Shared Shelf members I explore why Watson is accepted as a representative - affording her political capital - by those who are not predominantly her ‘fans’. This demonstrates the interconnection between celebrity, politics, and representation; Watson is accepted as a legitimate political actor due to her ‘reach’, afforded by her social media platforms and ability to attract media attention. However Watson’s case also demonstrates that while celebrities can bring meaningful political change, their evaluation according to political and cultural hierarchies is more broadly indicative of continuity. Watson is accepted as a political representative not because she is a celebrity, but because she is ‘not like other celebrities’. These comparisons are based on Watson’s ‘connection’ to formal politics through her role as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador (Saward, 2010), class-based assessments of her ‘appropriate’ behaviour, and her consistent self-presentation across fields and platforms. These resources enable Watson to negotiate what I argue is a ‘paradox of self-promotion’ in celebrity politics, whereby celebrities must attract attention to be accepted as credible representatives while avoiding accusations of ‘attention seeking’.