Politics and the Good Life was the theme of the recent Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual International Conference, held on the 21-23rd March in Brighton. The Good Life refers to the ancient Athenian concept which framed their thoughts on politics, ethics and knowledge. The conference considered how the term resonates today.
Ellen Watts put forward an analysis of how celebrity endorsers of the Labour party attempted to perform authenticity through the language of their endorsements and how they were received on social media. In particular, the extent to which these evaluations were influenced by negative interventions by Conservative bloggers and journalists.
Andrew Chadwick presented a paper, written with Nick Anstead, exploring the online behaviour of the think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Drawing upon 16,664 elite-produced tweets, the research examined how the key affordances of Twitter are used in the co-construction and propagation of think tank authority.
Cristian Vaccari argued for the importance of the relationship between online voter mobilization and aggregate measures of online and offline political engagement in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom during the 2014 European election campaign. Results indicated that online mobilization may contribute to closing gaps in political engagement at both individual and aggregate levels.
Jinghan Zeng presented three papers considering the topic of the Good Life for China from three different angles. Firstly, he examined China’s proactive approach to embrace big data to improve its governance, in particular the “big brother 2.0” model. Secondly, he presented an understanding of Chinese power from a Chinese perspective by analysing Chinese news articles titled with “new type of great power relations”. Finally, he presented a study of the survival strategies of the Chinese Communist Party, in particular how it continually revises the ideological basis that justifies its rules.
Adam Drew and James Sloam were also at the conference speaking on security and youth in politics respectively.
If you’d like to read more about the conference, you can visit the PSA website