Beyond Borders and Boundaries in Political Communication Research

New and evolving technologies pose challenges for Political Communication research. Obstacles are encountered in investigations across a range of sub-fields, including emerging technologies, social movement organisations, party political communication, and privacy and surveillance. This event asks how, and if, we can overcome these problems through new methodological approaches.

This half-day workshop, funded by MeCCSA PGN, will comprise a masterclass by political communications specialist Gord Cameron (Press Officer and Senior Researcher, Greater London Authority) and Dr Jinghan Zeng (Lecturer in International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London), followed by presentations and discussion by PhD candidates from the New Political Communication Unit in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Tea and coffee will be served during the event, followed by a drinks reception from 6pm. The event is free and all students and staff are invited to attend.

Where: Department of Politics and International Relations, FW101

When: Wednesday 12 October 2016, 2pm-6pm


3 March 2016 Media, Peace & Conflict seminar @GIGA_Institute Hamburg

On Thursday 3 March 2016 Ben O'Loughlin will lead a workshop on "New and Innovative Methods in Peace and Conflict Research" at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg. The goal of the workshop is to share with GIGA researchers an idea of how O'Loughlin and colleagues have been researching the media-security nexus through a series of funded projects since 2004. Analysing at this nexus has involved integrating ethnographic audience research, media text analysis, interviews with news producers, government security policymakers and military leaders, and various forms of digital and big data analysis. O'Loughlin will talk about the opportunities and pitfalls of piecing together such a holistic understanding of how media and security have become intertwined since the 2003 Iraq War, the war on terror and the more recent rise of ISIS. Practically, how do you research across a global multilingual media ecology? And politically, how can such research help show how media can be used to promote peace and dialogue rather than inflame anxiety and anger?

March 1, 2016: Just brainwashed? Domestic reception of Russia’s strategic narrative about the West—Joanna Szostek

On March 1, 2016 Joanna Szostek will present findings from her research in Moscow exploring how Russians interpret the strategic narratives about their country's role in the world offered by Putin, Lavrov and other leaders, and how interpretation is mediated by their presentation in Russian media. Are Russians being brainwashed or are things slightly more complicated?

Time: 5.15pm

Place: FW101

Joanna is currently in the first phase of research in her new Marie-Sklodowska Curie Global Fellowship examining how narratives from Russia are understood and interpreted in Ukraine. Her project website is here. She was previously a postdoctoral research at University College London and completed her PhD at the University of Oxford. 

2015-10-20: Talk by Vaccari, Chadwick and O'Loughlin: Dual Screening the Political: Media Events, Social Media, and Political Engagement

On October 20, Newpolcom researchers Cristian Vaccari, Andrew Chadwick, and Ben O'Loughlin are presenting new work from their ongoing project on dual screening and political engagement.

Dual Screening the Political: Media Events, Social Media, and Political Engagement

Dual screening—the complex bundle of practices that involve integrating, and switching across and between, live broadcast media and social media—is now routine for many citizens during important political media events. But do these practices shape political engagement, and if so, why? We devised a unique research design combining a large-scale Twitter dataset and a custom-built panel survey focusing on the broadcast party leaders’ debates held during the 2014 European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom. We find that relatively active, “lean-forward” practices, such as commenting live on social media as the debate unfolded, and engaging with conversations via Twitter hashtags, have the strongest and most consistent associations with political engagement.

Founders MAIN LECTURE THEATRE at 5.15. All welcome.

The article on which this talk is based will be out in the Journal of Communication soon.

2015-07-01: Workshop on Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Election Campaigns, Washington DC

Andrew Chadwick and Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University) are running a workshop on Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Election Campaigns next week in Washington DC.

The workshop has been nine months in the making and it is part of the preparation for a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics, to be edited by Andrew and Jennifer. This is not an open workshop; it is by invitation only.

The uprisings in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have focused attention on the question of digital media and political power. This has resulted in a wave of research on the relationships between technological change, mobilization, and revolutionary activism in authoritarian and semi-democratic political contexts.

While this research has generated important insights, we suggest that it should now be joined by fresh analysis of the role of digital media in election campaigns. We call for papers for a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics that are international or comparative in orientation, that present new evidence, and that connect the study of digital media explicitly with questions concerning power and democracy. We invite authors to examine established democracies both in and beyond the United States and Europe, and in emerging and what comparative regime theorists have termed “difficult democracies” across the world.

Central to the political life of all types of democracies are the organizations, practices, and media technologies of election campaigns, yet we know surprisingly little about the changes that have occurred in this field over recent years. We invite submissions that explore what we see as the increasingly contested issue of the balance of power between political elites, digital media actors, and citizens in election campaigning. Our aim is to orient this project around two classical and fruitfully contested concepts: power and democracy.

We seek submissions that explore continuity and change in the power relations that shape campaigns. We conceive of these power relations in three principal ways. First, we see a need to focus on the internal communication structures of party and campaign organizations. Second, scholars may focus on power relations in the communication flows between party and campaign organizations and the wider constellation of organizations within which citizen participation now occurs. Third, papers may examine the interactions between ordinary citizens and party and campaign organizations.

We primarily seek papers that advance empirical knowledge. Undergirding our interest in these themes, however, is intense normative curiosity about the potential democratizing effects of digital media, not only in relatively “settled” liberal-democratic contexts but also in the globally important difficult-democratic cases that increasingly inform thinking about real-world democracy, such as, for example, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico, Singapore, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, the Balkan states, and parts of central and eastern Europe. Our concern with the difficult democracies emerges because it could be the case that in these political systems important power shifts are more likely.

We would like authors to directly address the question of whether the adoption of digital media is increasing citizens’ influence over the hierarchical organizational structures that have typically dominated parties and election campaigns since the rise of the mass broadcast era. We also want authors to think about conditionality: the balance of forces and causes that shape whether changes in mediated campaigning are democratizing or not democratizing in their effects.

We have no orthodoxy regarding data and methods. We foresee a range of approaches: single country and comparative studies; papers adopting methods of big data analysis; those adopting quantitative approaches; and those situated within qualitative and ethnographic traditions.

Participation in the workshop is not mandatory for consideration for the IJPP special issue. A call for papers for the special issue will follow shortly.

For details of the workshop and to download a paper list, please visit the workshop website here.