::Past Events & Appearances
Andrew Chadwick will be speaking at this year's Holberg International Memorial Prize Symposium in Bergen, Norway, on June 5.
This year, the prize of NOK 4.5 million (or EUR 570,000/$800,000) has been awarded to Manuel Castells for his outstanding work as the leading sociologist of the city and new information and media technologies. The prize is awarded annually for outstanding scholarly work in the fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law, and theology.
The Symposium is open to the public.
NPCU PhD students Billur Aslan and James Dennis will present at the 6th Annual PhD Conference at the Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds, on 24 May. The iCS conference has quickly established a good reputation and features keynotes this year from Natalie Fenton from Goldsmiths and Stephen Coleman, on his home turf. Details of papers below.
The Power of The Internet in the Rising Protests: The Case of the Iranian Green Movement
This research aims to illuminate and evaluate assumptions about the political impacts of the Internet by taking into account the relation of online social networks and political protests. For evaluating the influence of those novel technologies, this research offers two case studies from Iran, where members of the Green Movement have organised spontaneous protests via social networks. Although in the first case study, the movement members succeeded in overcoming state barriers and spreading their movement via social networks, in the latter these social networks did not succeed in resisting state restriction. By exploring the filtrations and censorship attempts of the Iranian government, this research draws attention to the novel capacities of governments in their attempts to restrict the media. These Iran cases show that despite the existence of social networks, the Internet alone cannot bring liberty. On the contrary, governments can utilise it for monitoring their citizens or for spreading their manufactured ‘facts’. Thereby, although the current protests in Egypt, Tunisia or Libya have fortified the power of social networks on protests, claims about their transformative effects require careful and comparative scrutiny. In order to understand the real impact of the Internet, today, one should analyse diverse factors that affect the outcomes of the movements. For this reason, alongside its cases studies, this research revises the theories of social movement scholars. It offers a theoretical framework to help explain the elements that affect the emergence, mobilisation and outcome of collective actions with a particular focus on how the Internet influences these processes.
“It’s Better to Light a Candle Than to Fantasise About a Sun”: Exploring Slacktivism and the Utopian / Dystopian Divide 2.0
This paper offers a critique of the artificial utopian / dystopian dichotomy that has re-emerged within academic literature examining the effect of social-networking sites on political engagement, and sets out an alternative approach aiming to capture the nuance of mediated citizenship at varying scales. The prevalence of unsubstantiated generalisations, anecdotal case studies, and a lack of empirical testing is exemplified through the scholarly debate surrounding ‘Slacktivism’; that low-threshold forms of political engagement online are inauthentic, narcissistically motivated, and a distraction replacing more meaningful forms of offline mobilisation (The Substitution Thesis).
This paper proposes a number of deficiencies within this approach. Firstly, the problematic emphasis on the medium itself leads to an arbitrary distinction between online and offline, and subsequently lacks appreciation for the complexity of engagement repertoires and organisational structures. Secondly, conceptual clarity is required in regards to what encompasses participation in relation to social-networking site. Slacktivism offers a narrow perspective of what engagement entails, notably end-product, ‘revolutionary’ activism without an appreciation of the informational and discursive stimulants that form part of this process (Carpentier 2011). The utopian / dystopian dichotomy and Slacktivist approach fundamentally miss the key function of social-networking sites as a commercial and entertainment-based medium, i.e. their role as a facilitator for conversations and networking. Finally, a collection of revisions are proposed to re-frame the Slacktivist critique to construct a viable research agenda aiming to systematically examine the effect of routine social-networking usage on political engagement.
The NPCU is supporting the launch of a special conference and networking event on social media analysis entitled Insight 2.0: The Future of Social Media Analysis on Friday 27 April 2012 in central London. It is designed for everyone interested in the potential of social media data to stimulate data-driven discovery and decision-making in this hyper-connected digital era.
For a limited time, until Monday 13 April, a special admission price for University affiliates of GBP 37 will be available. Please email email@example.com for the discount code. More information about the event including the programme can be found by visiting www.zero1events.com
The event will feature short, energetic talks from experts from the fields of psychology, political and security intelligence, gamification, big data and brand insight amongst others.
Distinguished speakers include:
Kevin Anderson – The Guardian, Al-Jazeera
Pippa Norris – Ministry of Defence
Professor Martin Everett – University of Manchester
David Stillwell – University of Cambridge
Nathalie Nihai – The Web Psychologist
Alfred Rolington – Former CEO Jane’s Information Group, Oxford Analytica
Ben O'Loughlin and Nick Anstead - NPCU and LSE
For more information, please visit www.zero1events.com and Twitter @zero1events
Ben O'Loughlin and Andrew Hoskins will give the first presentation of their 'new mass' theory at the International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention in San Diego on 1 April 2012. They will present on the panel, 'Media Coverage of Crisis' at 4pm, Hospitality Suite 1501. Details of their paper are below.
Return of the Mass: Structures of Attention, Mediatized Sociality, and Why it Matters for IR
The mediatization of the social transforms the ‘connectedness’ of individuals, groups and societies. Mediatization refers to the manner in which our perceptions, relationships and institutions increasingly inhabit and are shaped by media and technologies, becoming reconfigured such that the logics of contemporary media (immediacy, visuality, connectivity) transform the processes we know as perceptions, relationships and institutions. It is not that social relations are necessarily fragmenting or integrating, as sometimes argued in standard accounts of global politics and society. Instead, the experience of individuals in the early 21st century is marked by shifting senses of connectivity and proximity which lead to a new sense of relating to social entities beyond the self. Consequently, new socialities emerge, featuring a simultaneous density and diffusion of relations. These socialities constitute what we call the new mass. Empirically, the effects can be seen in the circulation of news and other media content, the renewal and hybridity of media institutions and systems, and changing public conceptions of “the mainstream”. This paper begins to map the new mass by exploring how processes of authority, legitimacy and reflexivity operate around a series of international crises.
Date: February 21, 2012.
Time: 5.15–6.30 p.m.
Location: Founders West FW101.
Ground Wars: Personalized Political Communication in American Campaigns
American elections today are won or lost in the so-called ground war—the strategic deployment of teams of staffers, volunteers, and paid part-timers who work the phones and canvass block by block, house by house, voter by voter to sway the undecided and turn out the base. Faced with a changing communication environment, characterized by audience fragmentation, an increasingly strained attention economy, and a certain desensitization to traditional mass-mediated appeals, campaigns have increasingly turned to “personalized political communication”—the use of people as media for political communication.
Today, both candidate campaigns, the two major parties, and interest groups spend millions of dollars on new technologies for targeting voters and combine them with increasingly intense old-fashioned efforts to mobilize and organize volunteers and paid part-timers, all to be able to contact millions of people at home—43% percent of all voters reported being contacted in person in 2008, and we will see equally intense ground war operations in the 2012 electoral cycle.
Drawing on extensive ethnographic research in two congressional districts in 2008, I will show how American campaigns employ personalized political communication to engage with the electorate. I will argue that the resurgence of labor-intensive and seemingly old-fashioned campaign techniques like canvassing gives campaigns a renewed incentive to try to mobilize people to take part in campaigns. This stimulates increased levels of political participation even as the orientation of personalized political communication towards marginal voters reinforces existing tendencies to cater primarily to the most polarized and/or lethargic elements of the electorate.
Dr Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and assistant professor at Roskilde University in Denmark.
On 8 February Ben O’Loughlin will give a talk at the University of Oxford entitled, ‘The Conditions of Strategic Narrative Effectiveness: Infrastructure, Intention, Experience’. The talk will address some unforeseen difficulties and unintended outcomes public diplomacy practitioners have faced in recent years as they have tried to communicate about their nation in international affairs.
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Place: Seminar Room D – Social Science Building – Manor Road, Oxford
This seminar series explores the role the media play as political actors in developing countries and fragile states. It gathers scholars from a variety of disciplines to examine how old and new media are used to support different political agenda: from foreign countries trying to win the hearts and minds of a local population to local governments aiming at increasing their ability to communicate with, but also exercise control over, their citizens. Particular attention will be paid to understanding how flows of information can be mapped in contexts characterized by an increasing media density, resulting from the liberalization of the airwaves, the diffusion of mobile phones and new media, and the persistence of traditional modes of communication.
The seminar series is part of a year-long programme of events organized by the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) at the University of Cambridge, the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Politics (PCMLP), Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, at the University of Oxford and the Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP) at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
~ All are welcome, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information ~
On 31 January 2012 a workshop will be held at King’s College London for GCHQ on the theme, ‘Cyber Security: Lacunae of Strategy’. The UK’s cyber security strategy seems to build upon ideas evident in Foreign Secretary William Hague’s recent speeches. In November 2011 he stated:
Our vision is for the UK in 2015 to derive huge economic and social value from a vibrant, resilient and secure cyberspace, where our actions, guided by our core values of liberty, fairness, transparency and the rule of law, enhance prosperity, national security and a strong society.
UK Cyber Security Strategy: Protecting and Promoting the UK in a Digital World
This suggests the trade-offs any national cybersecurity strategy faces, not least how security policy should not impinge upon democracy, liberty or other ‘core values’. Meanwhile there is a lack of conceptual clarity, with cyber war, crime and security often being used interchangeably, and a recurring difficulty among policymakers of how to conceive of ‘cyberspace’ given its social and technical character.
Ben O’Loughlin and Andrew Hoskins will talk about how strategy can be organized and communicated in these conditions, conditions they have theorized as ‘diffused war’. Other speakers include Thomas Rid, Richard Clayton and Tim Jordan.
Ben O'Loughlin is among the speakers on 10 November 2011 at a workshop Digital Methods: Tools for Analysis held at the University of Manchester. This workshop brings together leading international scholars developing and applying innovative new methods to analyse web 2.0 applications. The focus of the workshop is on new methodologies for capturing and analysing social media data from applications such as blogs, social networking, micro-blogging or video sharing sites and hyperlinks. Ben will present the latest version of his research with Nick Anstead, "Semantic Polling: the 2010 UK General Election and Real-Time Opinion Monitoring". Based on recent interviews with pollsters, party strategies, data mining companies and electoral regulators, the research shows how different actors made use of real-time public opinion polling through social media - semantic polling - in the 2010 UK General Election.
Participation is free but registration is required as the number of places is limited.
If you are interested in participating please contact the organisers at email@example.com
Symposium: Crisis and New Communications Media
Date and time: Thursday 3 November 2011, 5–7pm
Venue: Seminar Room 109, 66 Oakfield Avenue
It makes decreasing sense to speak of media and crisis in isolation. As the media insinuates itself into the everyday in the developed and the developing world, it becomes a pervasive tool for both perpetrating and assuaging crises, for garnering revolutions and for intervention by citizens and enforcement agencies/first responders, and as an emergent source for later legitimizing or contesting such actions in broader mainstream news and political discourses.
Prof. Andrew Hoskins (University of Glasgow); Prof. Ben O’Loughlin (Royal Holloway University); Dr Pieter Verdegem (Uppsala University); Dr Jennifer Giroux (ETH Zurich); Dr Karen Renaud (University of Glasgow); Prof. Michele Burman (University of Glasgow (TBC))
To reserve a place, please email Frances.Gaughan@glasgow.ac.uk
Andrew Chadwick will be speaking at a roundtable debate, Building an Effective Social Media Campaign, organized by the Hansard Society and the Comparing Online Democracy and Elections (CODE) project at the University of Manchester. The November 2nd event will take place at Portcullis House in Westminster and coincides with Parliament Week.