Awarded the Best Paper Award by the Information Technology & Politics section of APSA


I am on my way back from the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, where I served as program chair for the Information Technology & Politics section and presented research on the effects of deepfakes that I am conducting with my colleague at Loughborough Andy Chadwick.

At the business meeting of the ITP section, I was honored to receive the award for the best paper presented at the previous edition of APSA. The committee (Shelley Boulianne, Jennifer Oser, and Cornelius Puschmann) chose to award the paper “Digital Political Talk and Political Participation: Comparing Established and Third Wave Democracies” that I coauthored with Augusto Valeriani. The abstract of the paper is below and the main findings are summarized in this post. The paper is now an open access article available on SAGE Open.

We investigate whether and how informal political talk on digital media contributes to citizens’ political participation with unique surveys based on samples representative of Internet users in seven Western democracies. We show that political talk on both social networking sites and mobile instant messaging platforms is positively associated with institutional and extra-institutional political participation. However, the relationship between talk on social networking sites and both types of participation is significantly stronger in established democracies (Denmark, France, United Kingdom, and United States) than in “third wave” democracies (Greece, Poland, and Spain). By contrast, the strength of the relationship between political talk on mobile instant messaging platforms and participation is not significantly different when comparing established and more recent democracies. These findings suggest that informal political talk on digital platforms can contribute to citizens’ participatory repertoires and that different institutional settings, in combination with different technological affordances, play an important role in shaping these patterns.

As is often the case, Augusto and I were fortunate to benefit from feedback, support, and inspiration from many colleagues in writing this paper. I first presented it at a meeting of SMaPP Global in New York and received invaluable feedback, among others by Yannis Theocharis who greatly helped us advance and clarify the way in which we theorized the role of political institutions and social trust. The paper is part of a whole special collection from SMaPP Global colleagues, which is all open access and definitely worth checking out.

I look forward to serving in next year’s award committee, as well as Chair of the whole ITP section.


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