All Hail the Keyboard Radical? James Dennis presenting at the PSA Annual Conference

NPCU PhD student James Dennis will presented at this year's Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual Conference in Manchester on 14-16 April 2014. Please find details below of his paper and the panel time and place.

Tuesday 15th April, 09:00-10:30

Panel Title: Media and Politics 1: New Media and Political Participation

Fairclough Suite

All Hail the Keyboard Radical? A New Research Agenda for Political Participation and Social Media

Slacktivism has become synonymous with a negative perception of the political value of social media. However, the critique is flawed by an overtly narrow focus. In order to critically analyse the relationship between social media and political participation we must first develop a comprehensive understanding of the environment in which these new forms of social and political self-expression take place. This paper will illustrate the conceptual weaknesses of slacktivism and propose an alternate research agenda based on a number of conceptual recommendations.

Firstly, the emphasis on actions ignores the role that social-networking sites play in relation to information exchange, discursive engagement, and political mobilisation. Furthermore the focus on social media in isolation ignores the multifaceted engagement strategies that political actors employ, and the expansive, hybrid media system that such tools operate within. Thirdly, slacktivism is often deemed to be lazy activism. However, given the time- pressure that citizens experience day-to-day, the granular nature of web 2.0 technologies may lower the threshold for involvement in spheres that were traditionally controlled by political professionals. Finally, slacktivism is often labelled as inauthentic or narcissistic. However, as users navigate the fluid terrain of public, semi-public, and private spaces online, our personal identity must remain reflexive.