Speaking at International Conference on the Internet and New Forms of Political Participation in Lille

This week I am traveling to Lille to give a keynote speech at the international conference “Internet et les nouvelles formes de participation politique”. The conference has been organized as part of the project “Analyse Pluridisciplinaire du Pétitionnement En Ligne“, led by Jean-Gabriel Contamin from the Centre d’études et de recherche administratives, politiques et sociales at the Université de Lille.

My speech will focus on “Social Media and Political Participation in Comparative Perspective“. I will present some key ideas and findings from the project I led on this topic from 2012-2016 and that I am channeling into a book that I am writing with my colleague Augusto Valeriani from the University of Bologna.

The program is available here. If you are in the area and would like to attend, you can register using this form.

 

Call for papers: Fifth Conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics

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September 16-17, 2019, the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University (United Kingdom) will host the fifth conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics, focused on academic research on the relation between media and political processes around the world. Professor Stuart Soroka from the University of Michigan will deliver a keynote lecture.

A selection of the best full papers presented at the conference will be published in the journal after peer review. The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 10, 2019. Attendees will be notified of acceptance by June 7, 2019. Full papers based on accepted abstracts will be due September 2, 2019.

The conference brings together scholars doing internationally-oriented or comparative research on the intersection between news media and politics around the world. It aims to provide a forum for academics from a wide range of disciplines, countries, and methodological approaches to advance research in this area.

Examples of relevant topics include the political implications of current changes in media systems, including the increasing role of digital platforms; the importance of digital media for engaging with news and politics; analysis of the factors affecting the quality of political information and public discourse; studies of the role of entertainment and popular culture in how people engage with current affairs; studies of relations between political actors and journalists; analyses of the role of visuals and emotion in the production and processing of public information; and research on political communication during and beyond elections by government, political parties, interest groups, and social movements. The journal and the conference have a particular interest in studies that adopt comparative approaches, represent substantial theoretical or methodological advances, or focus on parts of the world that are under-researched in the international English language academic literature. [See the programs for the 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 conferences.]

Titles and abstracts for papers (maximum 300 words) are invited by May 10, 2019. The abstract should clearly describe the key question, the theoretical and methodological approach, the evidence the argument is based on, as well as its wider implications and the extent to which they are of international relevance.

Please send submissions via the online form available at http://bit.ly/IJPP2019.

The conference is organized by Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University, Editor-in-Chief of IJPP). Please contact Dr Vaccari with questions at c.vaccari@lboro.ac.uk.

More about the journal, the keynote speaker, the University, and the Centre: 

The International Journal of Press/Politics
IJPP is an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the media and politics in a globalized world. The journal publishes theoretical and empirical research which analyzes the linkages between the news media and political processes and actors around the world, emphasizes international and comparative work, and links research in the fields of political communication and journalism studies, and the disciplines of political science and media and communication. The journal is ranked 4th by Scopus (SJR) and 12th by Journal Citation Reports in Communication.

Professor Stuart Soroka, University of Michigan
Stuart Soroka is the Michael W. Traugott Collegiate Professor of Communication Studies and Political Science, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. His research focuses on political communication, the sources and/or structure of public preferences for policy, and the relationships between public policy, public opinion, and mass media.  His most recent book is Negativity in Democratic Politics: Causes and Consequences (2014, Cambridge University Press). Soroka is currently collaborating on a project focused on cross-national psychophysiological reactions to news content, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; and a large-scale content-analytic project on media coverage of US public policy, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Loughborough University
Based on a 440-acre, single-site campus at the heart of the UK, Loughborough University is ranked top 10 in every British university league table. Voted University of the Year (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019) and awarded Gold in the National Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), Loughborough provides a unique student experience that is ranked first in the UK by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018. Loughborough University has excellent transport links to the rest of the UK. It is a short distance away from Loughborough Train station, a 15-minute drive from East Midlands Airport (near Nottingham), an hour drive from Birmingham Airport, and an hour and 15 minutes from London via train.

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture
Since our establishment in 1991, we have developed into the largest research centre of our kind in the UK. We are an interdisciplinary centre, crossing over social science and humanities disciplines to draw on theories and methods in social psychology, sociology, politics, history and geography. Renowned for the breadth of our research, we range across interpersonal and small-group communication, social media, political communication, media education, mainstream communications—including digital and online and the analysis of communicative work, such as political campaigning, popular music and memory. Our core research themes are all regarded as world-leading by our peers. We use a diversity of methods for data gathering and analysis and work with a variety of partners, including the BBC, the police, NSPCC and the Electoral Commission as well as our international collaborators, to deliver fundamental and applied research of exceptional quality.

Call for Nominations: International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award

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Nominations are invited for the annual International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award, to be sent to IJPP Editor-in-Chief Cristian Vaccari by email no later than March 1.

Rationale

The International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award honors internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empirical understanding of the linkages between news media and politics in a globalized world in a significant way. It is given annually by the International Journal of Press/Politics and sponsored by Sage Publications.

The award committee will judge each nominated book on several criteria, including the extent to which the book goes beyond analyzing a single case country to present a broader and internationally-oriented argument, the significance of the problems addressed, the strength of the evidence the book relies on, conceptual innovation, the clarity of writing, and the book’s ability to link journalism studies, political communication research, and other relevant intellectual fields.

Eligibility

Books published within the last ten years will be considered. Monographs as well as edited volumes of exceptional quality and coherence will be considered for the award. Books by current members of the award committee are ineligible and committee members will recuse themselves from discussion of books by members of their own department, works published in series that they edit, and similar circumstances.

Nominations

Nominations including a rationale of no more than 350 words should be emailed by March 1 to Cristian Vaccari at c.vaccari@lboro.ac.uk.

The nomination must specify why the book should receive the award by outlining the importance of the book to the study of media and politics and by identifying its international contribution and relevance. Please include links to or copies of relevant reviews in scholarly journals.

Arrangements should be made with the publishers of nominated books for three hard copies to be sent by March 1 to Cristian Vaccari, School of Social Sciences, Brockington Building U.3.19, Loughborough University, Epinal Way, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom.

Award committee

The award committee consists of Cristian Vaccari (the editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics), Kimberly Gross (chair of the Political Communication Division of ICA), and Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt (chair of the Journalism Studies Division of ICA).

Presentation

The award will be presented at the 2019 ICA Annual Meeting and will be announced on the IJPP website. The awarded book will also receive recognition in issue 4/2019 of the journal.

Past winners of the award

2018: Erik Albæk, Arjen van Dalen, Nael Jebril, and Claes H. de Vreese, Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

2017: Katrin Voltmer, The Media in Transitional Democracies (Polity Press, 2013).

2016: Andrew Chadwick, The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 1st edition 2013).

2015: Rodney Benson, Shaping Immigration News (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Call for papers, APSA Information Technology & Politics Division

logoI am honored to serve as 2019 program chair for the Information Technology & Politics Division of the American Political Science Association.

The conference will be held in Washington, DC from August 29 until September 1, 2019. The deadline for abstract submissions is is Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Here is the division call for papers. Please consider submitting an abstract via the conference website.

The Information Technology & Politics section invites paper, panel and roundtable proposals relating to research on any manifestation of political activity that revolves around, or is shaped by, digital media and information technology, broadly construed. We particularly encourage proposals connecting to the APSA 2019 conference theme of “Populism and Privilege”. Theme-related questions that can be addressed by authors in the ITP section include, but are not limited to, the following: How are populist leaders and parties taking advantage of digital media to set agendas, frame issues, mobilize supporters, and persuade voters? Are supporters of populist political actors using digital media in ways that are distinctive compared with the rest of the electorate, and towards what political ends? Are populist political actors mobilizing new cadres of activists and voters, and is political equality strengthened or weakened as a result? What can we learn about the complex and interdependent contemporary media ecosystem by studying how populist political actors and their supporters engage with information technologies? What role are the affordances of digital media playing in facilitating or hindering the spread of different types of populist messages and worldviews? The section encourages ambitious proposals that tackle underexplored questions based on innovative theoretical backgrounds and appropriate research designs. The section emphasizes methodological pluralism and invites submissions based on a wide variety of social science research methods.

Call for Proposals: Digital Threats to Democracy

I am very excited to be working with the Media and Democracy program of the Social Science Research Council on a workshop that will bring together scholars aiming to understand and offer solutions for various challenges for democracies raised by digital media. We will convene the workshop in New York on June 13-14, 2019. The deadline to apply is February 3, 2019. A selection of the workshop proceedings will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics after peer review.

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Here are the full details (cross-posted from the SSRC website).

OVERVIEW

In recent years, democracies appear to have been caught off guard by pitfalls associated with the rise of digital media. Issues such as mass surveillance, disinformation, declining trust in journalism, challenges to journalistic institutions, electoral interference, partisan polarization, and increasing toxicity online threaten democratic norms, institutions, and governance. While these phenomena have raised widespread concerns in the United States and have been the subject of vast bodies of US-centric research, there is much to be learned from addressing these issues in a comparative perspective—by studying digital media and politics both inside and outside the US and highlighting generalizable implications.

While the media and political system in the United States function in ways that are quite different from most Western democracies, to the point that many have spoken of “American exceptionalism,” the United States is not alone in experiencing political pressures associated with the rise of digital media. Not only have other countries also experienced high levels of polarization, substantial foreign interference, erosion of democratic norms, and weak media institutions; sometimes these developments occurred and required political responses well before the same issues became politically heated topics in the United States.

Comparative research, both across time and across space, can shed light on how countries adapt and respond to digital threats to democracy. How can democratic competition, representation, and inclusiveness be safeguarded amidst challenges to their foundations? What lessons might we learn from countries, including nondemocratic ones, that have been dealing with these issues longer than the US?

WORKSHOP THEME

To encourage comparative research on the impact of digital media on democratic processes and institutions, the Media & Democracy program at the Social Science Research Council invites submission of abstracts for a research workshop organized in collaboration with Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University), to be held in New York City on June 13–14, 2019.

The workshop aims to explore the impact of the rise of digital media on politics by asking three key sets of questions. First, what insights can we glean from comparing liberal democracies to one another? How have these regimes approached the frequently competing goals of protecting free speech, privacy, and anonymity; regulating political speech on digital media; ensuring fair elections; and promoting competitive digital markets? Second, what lessons can we learn from the experiences of countries where liberal and democratic norms cannot be taken for granted? In all cases, how do existing political and media institutions shape the political impact of, and responses to, digital disruptions and threats?

We invite submissions that make both theoretical and empirical contributions to existing bodies of knowledge in the comparative study of political communication, elections, public opinion, digital media, and democracy. Potential themes may include the following:

Disinformation Campaigns: How is the propagation of (or accusation of propagating) disinformation used to damage opponents and mislead or confuse segments of the public? How are these strategies resisted in practice?

Surveillance: What is the relationship between the need for connectivity and the need for privacy? What are the consequences of failing constitutional, regulatory, or normative protections of privacy?

Violence and Intimidation: What are the implications of the fact that mechanisms that allow citizens to coordinate collective action can also facilitate violence against other citizens? Are journalists, politicians, and activists more vulnerable to threats and coercion when professional norms require they maintain a social media presence that potentially exposes them to abuse and limits their privacy?

Mobile Politics: What are the implications for political equality of the global growth in mobile online connectivity, especially among sectors of the population that do not use computers? What are the implications of easy-to-use, ephemeral, and encrypted mobile communication for political discourse, mobilization, and engagement?

Platform Politics: How well can US-born or US-centric platforms respond to democratic challenges in other countries? Should digital platforms provide bespoke solutions to non-US problems, and how can they accomplish that?

TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION EXPENSES

The organizers will coordinate and pay for travel and accommodation for all invited participants.

PUBLICATION OF SELECTED PROCEEDINGS IN THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRESS/POLITICS

A selection of participants in the workshop will be invited to submit full manuscripts of up to 8,000 words for publication in a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics (IJPP), subject to peer review. IJPP is an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the press and politics in a globalized world. The journal publishes theoretical and empirical research that analyzes the linkages between the news media and political processes and actors around the world, emphasizes international and comparative work, and links research in the fields of political communication and journalism studies and the disciplines of political science and media and communication.

Website: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/hijb

Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Cristian Vaccari, Loughborough University, c.vaccari@lboro.ac.uk

TO APPLY

Please send the following materials to mdapplications@ssrc.org by February 3. Please include “Application for Digital Threats to Democracy” in the subject line.

  • Current C.V. of maximum two pages.
  • An abstract of up to 500 words. The abstract should clearly outline the main theoretical and/or empirical contribution of the paper, as well as identifying the (types of) countries the contribution aims to shed light on.

Two PhD Studentships at the Online Civic Culture Centre at Loughborough University

I am very excited to announce two PhD studentships to study the spread of online misinformation and disinformation at Loughborough University’sOnline Civic Cultures Centre, which we launched this year.

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One project, co-supervised by Andrew Chadwick, Martin Sykora, and myself, focuses on “Understanding the Spread of Online Misinformation That Rejects Scientific Consensus: Audiences, Platforms, and Algorithms“. This project will examine the interrelationships between people’s motivations for sharing information, the types of information they share (such as media sources and statements by elites of various kinds), and the affordances of video sharing platforms, particularly YouTube. The project will compile a dataset of misleading information rejecting scientific consensus on selected key issues of our time, such as, for example, climate change or health. It will undertake content analysis as well as examine audience interpretations and responses. The project will also assess the role of algorithmic power in shaping people’s exposure and responses to misinformation rejecting scientific consensus and explore how the spread and societal impact of such misinformation might be reduced. More information is available here.

Another project, co-supervised by Louise Cooke, Suzanne Elayan, and Simone Natale is titled “What Role Do Social Media Influencers Play in Spreading Misinformation and Disinformation?“. This project will develop culturally-sensitive concepts for designing new algorithms to detect social media influencers who spread misinformation and disinformation on social media. Through a perspective attentive to the ethical and cultural implications of human-machine interactions on social media platforms, it will both improve understanding of the values embedded in platform algorithms and the role social media influencers play in spreading false information in online networks. The work will sit at the interdisciplinary intersection of computational text mining, applied data science, sociolinguistics, media theory, theories of artificial intelligence, and normative ethical theory. More information here.

The closing date for applications is January 11, 2019 for a starting date on September 30, 2019.

Please distribute widely and, if you are interested in applying, contact the primary supervisors (Andrew Chadwick and Louise Cooke). Feel free to reach out to me with regard to the project I am going to co-supervise.

 

PhD Studentships Available at Loughborough University

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in political communication, please consider applying for one of the scholarships offered by the East Midlands Doctoral Training Partnership and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

Loughborough University is a pathway lead for Communication and Media in the consortium and I would be pleased to consider proposals from students interested in studying aspects of the relationships between media, politics, and citizens. The official advertisement is here and information on how to apply is here. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 22nd January 2019.

Please get in touch if you want to discuss an idea for a project. You may also want to take a look at the “PhD” page on this website, which provides some information on the kinds of projects I am involved at the moment and the students I supervised in the past.

Feel free to spread the word far and wide!

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