Call for Papers: “Political representation on Web 2.0: concepts, methods and empirical data”

6th ECPR General Conference, University of Iceland, 25th – 27th Aug. 2011

Deadline for submission of paper abstracts: 1 February 2011

As a publicly constituted exchange, political representation is filtered through the media. At the same time, as our media ecology continues to change away from an environment dominated by the conventional mass media, the layers of this mediation process are increasingly multiplied and political communication follows the same trends of transnationalization, specialization, customization and personalization as do political decision-making, media consumption and community-building. As these shifts affect and (to some extent) replace mass media-driven ‘politics as usual’, what new patterns emerge? What constitutes a democratic polity in a media environment characterized by multiply-layered offline and online publics ranging from the hyper-local through the national to the transnational level? If societal political discourse disaggregates into a discussion of specific issues in individual publics, rapidly forming and dissolving ad hoc and in complex configurations, how does this affect the political process? That is, what becomes of the underlying narratives provided by the ideological positions of established parties within national or regional political systems, and how does this affect their claims of representing specific voting blocs?

With political discourse increasingly taking place online, possibilities for new approaches to the study of political exchange emerge– for example by examining political discourse in blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and on other social media platforms. While the user-base of such spaces is not always necessarily representative of the identities and interests of the wider population, the study of politics in social media spaces nonetheless provides new insight into the communicative practices of citizens, escaping and recasting the traditional categories and methodologies of political science.

Combining insights from online media research with a new paradigmatic shift in representative theory, this panel examines online politics from a communication perspective, discussing conceptual, methodological and empirical aspects of the mediated relationship between political claimants, constituents and audiences.

Panel Chair: Asimina Michailidou, Post-doctoral fellow, ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, Norway

Panel Discussant: Axel Bruns, Associate Professor, Media and Communication, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

For more information about the panel and submission of paper abstracts, please visit http://www.ecprnet.eu/conferences/general_conference/reykjavik/panel_details.asp?panelid=423

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