Ben O’Loughlin has agreed to make a formal contribution to the hearing on “Internet and politics: the impact of new information and communication technology on democracy” that will take place at the Council of Europe in Paris on 11 March 2013, from 2 pm to 5.30 pm. Ben will discuss the impact of the Internet on political communication and political mobilization and the challenges of e-democracy. These include:
- Changes in communication patterns provoked by new information technologies, such as the blurred frontier between public and private space and socialization/democratization of information and knowledge.
- Impact on people’s political mobilization, from the “flash mobs” to the Arab Spring.
- Changes in the relationship between political forces and electorates, for instance in the selection of leaders and candidates, in the marketing of party programmes, and the rise of a new kinds of parties such as the Pirates or the Italian Cinque Stelle (five stars).
- New possibilities for citizens to participate in decision making.
The other invited experts are Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, Director of the Hans-Bredow-Institut für Medienforschung, Hamburg, and Prof. Patrice Flichy, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, Director of Réseaux.
I am excited to announce that I will be giving the 2013 Attallah Lecture at Carleton University on March 7, 2013. The Lecture takes place annually in honour of Paul Attallah and is part of Carleton's Communication Graduate Caucus Annual Conference, whose theme this year is [Re]visions: Protest and Resistance.
Attallah Lecture specifics:
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Time: 6:30 PM.
Location: National Arts Centre, Ottawa, 53 Elgin Street, at Confederation Square, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5W1, Canada.
Free and open to the public.
Christopher Boerl's new article: "From Monologue to Dialogue: How the Internet is Empowering the Evangelical Periphery" in iCS
Christopher Boerl, who was recently awarded his PhD for research he carried out here in the New Political Communication Unit, has a new article out in Information, Communication and Society. Here is the abstract and a link.
Contrary to the effects of broadcast media, a medium through which American evangelicals were largely unified along conservative theological and political lines, this article explores how the Internet is empowering divergent religious movements within the evangelical community. As a result of this development, the previously unfettered authority of the Christian Right is being usurped and the religious monologue it once enjoyed is gone. Instead, today's evangelical media landscape is more diversified, more decentralized, and ultimately more politically moderate than it once was. Understanding this phenomenon is of central importance to this article.
A quick note to say that I'll be speaking at an event about the European Citizens' Initiative in central London this coming Thursday, November 29.
Organized by the European Parliament Information Office, held at Europe House, Smith Square, Westminster, and entitled Can Digital Democracy Work? the meeting will consist of MEPs and representatives from the Officer of the Leader of the House of Commons, 38 Degrees, and transnational civil society movement, European Alternatives.
If you would like to attend the discussion, please RSVP to Agnieszka.PIELA@ext.ec.europa.eu
Ben O'Loughlin is the invited speaker at tomorrow's Digital Media Research Seminar at the School of Humanities & Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney. His presentation explores how media have been used in the expression of critiques by activist groups in Japan since the 3/11 disaster. It draws on research in progress with Chris Perkins at the University of Edinburgh, who completed his PhD here at the NPCU. Details of the talk are below. If you're in Sydney, drop in.
Date: Thursday 15 November
Venue: EB2.21 Parramatta Campus, UWS, Cnr of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere.
Post-Fukushima Activism and Global Indignation: The Mediality of Critique in Japan
This paper explores how digital media and political claims-making enabled activists in Japan to link their critique of the Japanese state to activism around the world in 2011, including the Indignados in Spain and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. The Japanese government was found lacking both in its pre-disaster planning and its inability to form a convincing strategic narrative about Japan’s future that could rally citizens after the 3/11 disaster. In response, activists and opposition voices started to drill down from specific policy complaints to the constitutive arrangements of the polity itself. This is a more abstract level of justification and one that is more easily linked to global struggles. This paper explores how these critical operations were launched from diverse political positions and through different medial practices and media forms, including Sakaguchi Kyohei’s best-selling book How to Build an Independent Country, film by the Radioactivists, the 'Sayonara Genpatsu' (Goodbye Nuclear Power) movement, and digital self-publishing by individual citizens. The paper applies an analytical framework derived from Boltanski and Thevenot’s work to examine how critique and justification operate through media ecologies marked by modulating experiences of distance, proximity, insecurity and uncertainty.
Are academic researchers being left behind by their commercial counterparts? Is the rigour and transparency of social science being sacrificed in the name of revolution? ‘The Big Data Revolution’ workshop hosted by Innocentive on 12 September 2012 offered an excellent chance to weigh up these questions. The workshop brought together a mix of commercial, academic and government researchers including representatives from Amazon, City University, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the US Department of Homeland Security.
Billur Aslan and James Dennis will present our ongoing study of global audience reactions to the 2012 London Olympics at CIBAR 2012 in Manchester on 11 November. The annual conference of the Confederation of International Broadcasters’ Audience Research Services, hosted this year by BBC Global News, is the main international forum for discussion of audience research among public service broadcasters. There will be other presentations from Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Europe, Gallup and the BBC themselves.
CIBAR have generously given the project an entire session, and we hope anyone in Manchester is able to attend. Thanks to Marie Gillespie for convening the panel.
The Olympic Games 2012, the BBC World Service & Twitter
Marie Gillespie, Rob Procter, Billur Aslan, James Dennis, Nour Schreim & Marzieh Targhi
This session will examine how international news organisations like the BBC World Service (WS) are adapting to social media and integrating it into their journalistic practices. In particular, it evaluates the Twitter strategy adopted by the WS during the London Olympic Games. It does so comparatively through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a carefully selected sample of approximately 10,000 tweets harvested from the BBC’s Arabic, English, Persian and Russian Services. Our particular concern was to get at the nature of ‘the global conversation’ - who is reacting to who in what way, and in particular how people are reacting to the BBC coverage and its social media output.
The project set out to address the following questions: what impact did the WS Twitter strategy have during the Olympic period on reach and/or engagement? Did it generate more followers? Did it allow for greater exposure to WS content? Did increased transparency among broadcasters and audiences attract new followers and audiences? Did its twitter strategy make it easier for overseas audiences to follow and understand the Olympics? To what extent did the BBC’s language services become a hub/centre for discussions of Olympics in Arabic, English, Persian and Russian? Do WS Tweeters exert influence in the Twitter sphere? Do WS tweeters create greater engagement? The panel will examine issues of methodology (our methodology included a coding frame that allowed us to trace gender, national and religious dynamics), as well as the wider implications of social media, like Twitter, for issues of democratising media participation.
Ben O'Loughlin has a new column in Global Policy discussing the new project on the 2012 Olympics, the BBC and Twitter being conducted by the NPCU, Open University, NCeSS and the BBC. The column asks who benefits from the 'Habermas on steroids' ideal of a global public the BBC is tasked with creating.
Department of Politics and International Relations
Wednesday 20th March 2013
Arab Spring! Occupy! Euro-crisis! Austerity! Riots! New Warfare! Is this the rise of power in a new guise? Is this a time of crisis or opportunity? Recent events challenge us to reconsider the nature of power in our contemporary world. The view of power today is split. It could be said that our current situation is merely a repeat of history, and an intensification of the old battle lines. Conversely our current situation can be regarded as new, unique and pressing. How we come to understand power has a bearing on how we come to understand our future. As such, this conference aims to stimulate critical engagement and challenge our predisposed notions of power. We invite paper proposals on any topics related to the conference theme, and would particularly welcome abstracts related to the following areas:
- Conflict Analysis
- International Political Economy
- Military, Security and Strategic Studies
- Political Communication
- Political Culture and Identity
- Political Protest and Social Transformation
- Political Theory
- Transnational and Global Relations
Abstracts should be between 300-350 words in a PDF or Word format and
Deadline for abstracts: Wednesday 19th December 2012
ESRC SEDTC Politics Postgraduate Conference - Call for Papers
Ben O'Loughlin is giving a presentation this Thursday 25 October in the Department of International Relations at Australia National University. His paper is entitled, Strategic Narratives and Power Transition: Communicating a New Order. The paper is based on a forthcoming book on Strategic Narratives with Alister Miskimmon and Laura Roselle. Details of the seminar are below. Thanks to Sarah Logan and Matthew Davies for organising the event.
Strategic Narratives and Power Transition: Communicating a New Order
Professor Ben O'Loughlin
05:00pm - 06:30pm
25 October 2012
Seminar Room 3, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
This presentation explains how strategic narratives play a vital role in defining international order and power transition. The analysis of power transition has been dominated by studies focusing on material conditions (Gilpin 1981; Organski 1958), changes in balance of power (Waltz 1979; Kennedy 1988) and more recently the evolution of a liberal order (Ikenberry 2011). Today, a changing distribution of material power will be reflected in greater challenges for great powers to project strategic narratives about the future of the international system, signs of which we are already witnessing. Power transition now occurs in the conditions of a global media ecology in which states must narrate to multiple audiences; this more transparent order affects how states achieve legitimacy for their narrative. A strategic narrative framework can help analysts account for the social, ideational and relational dimensions of power transition neglected in traditional theories. Analysis of the formation, projection and domestic and international reception of China's strategic narrative shows that while China might become a superpower in material terms, its ability to gain legitimacy for an alternative vision of world order is constrained. Its narrative must work against a range of prior understandings of China and of the international system itself. The current rise of the BRICs is a fascinating period for those concerned with how the future of international order will play out because each rising power has an ambiguous relationship to the existing order as well as different concepts and values underpinning its narrative of future order. Given that previous power transitions have often led to systemic violence, it remains to be seen whether any existing or rising powers can craft a strategic narrative that other powers can align with their own.