Despite the recent growth of research on social media and politics, we know almost nothing about the online behavior of some of the most influential political organizations in the advanced democracies: think tanks. Led by Andrew Chadwick, this new (January 2016) multi-method, two-phase project is supported by a grant to Andrew from the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust scheme.
The first phase of the project uses a case study of the role of the Institute for Fiscal Studies during the 2015 UK general election to explore how think tank authority and power on social media are constructed through the propagation, through various platform affordances, of specific communicative resources on Twitter. Contrary to accounts which suggest that social media are always spaces of chaos, flux, and emergent interpretive action, this work seeks to reveal the conditions under which some organizations are able to extend their reach into this potentially unruly space and become new types of what, during the broadcast era's heyday, media sociologist Stuart Hall termed “primary definers.” The second phase of the project examines the role of broadcast media in constructing the authority of the IFS during the 2015 general election.
Published research associated with this project: