Higher Seminar at KAU 5 /sep


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  • Ninalarsson.se have been up and running since 2006, and is constructed as a blog where postings with more obvious political angle are communicated.
  • On the regional newspaper Vämlands Folkblad (VF), Nina had a blog since 2008.
  • - For example in one posting she comments an investigative journalistic TV show scrutinizing the presence of MPs during voting. She was mentioned as one politician being absent at many parliamentary votes.
  • In another posting she comments the editorial of leading national newspaper. In this way established media channels are setting the agenda for her blog posting practice . More than 60 percent of the postings on ninalarsson.se refer to media texts initially broadcasted offline If Nina for example writes a debate article in a daily newspaper, or appear on TV or Radio, this will almost automatically generate a blog posting often linking to the original appearance.
  • She also links to, and comments on, current news stories and other politicians debate articles - Ninalarsson.se is also largely used to promote the Liberal Party, to reinforce the political messages that other Liberals have been communicating in both offline media, as well as on their blogs and social media platforms. A virtual patting the backs of fellow party comrades seems to take place in form of multiplying and commending each others appearances. Measuring the links in and out of ninalarsson.se to other blogs, up to 90 percent were to, and came from, other liberal party members - This illustrates the kind of network individualsim It seems that it is important for Nina to connect her political persona to other liberals in her network through linking to and commenting on each others blog postings.
  • The postings on the VF blog are more private in its character compared to ninalarsson.se. The postings do not address political matters as directly as on ninalarsson.se. Instead her postings are more connected to her feelings about her life and job as a politician, and also to some parts of her private life Indeed the strategy for the VF blog what makes this a great posting is that Nina steps out of her role as a politician and is just Nina
  • Higher Seminar at KAU 5 /sep

    1. 1. Studying political participation using a (n)ethnographic method Jakob Svensson Presentation MKV Karlstad 5/9 2012
    2. 2. OverviewBackground and Research QuestionsThree StudiesThe Method: (n)EthnographyProblem 1) Nina as Case StudyProblem 2) Ethical issues Studying Online Communities
    3. 3. Background and Research QuestionsSocial Media and the Rationalities of Political ParticipationHow can we understand contemporary political participation inconnected societies?What motivates/ governs participation?
    4. 4. Background and Research QuestionsWhat is Political Participation?The Political deals with the organization of society, distribution ofits resources and how to conduct our lives together (Svensson 2011)Participatory Practices can be subdivided on the basis fromwhere they are initiated
    5. 5. Background and Research Questionsa) Parliamentary Initiated Participationb) Activist Participation - initiated from outside the Parliament but direct their participation towards the people and institutions of representative democracyc) Popular Cultural Participation – initiated from people and places outside the Parliament and not from the beginning directed towards it (Svensson, 2011)
    6. 6. Background and Research QuestionsLate Modernity - Processes of pluralization, fragmentation andreflexive individualization are given priority at the expense of thecommon cultural frames of reference that dominated social spacesand its organization in modernity (such as family, nation, class,party affiliation) (Giddens, Beck, Dahlgren)Digital Late Modernity – The contemporary online media andcommunication landscape develops and interacts in tandem withthe pluralization, fragmentation and reflexive individualization ofculture, lifestyle and tastes (Coleman & Blumler, 2009; Leaning,2009; Feenberg, 2010; Svensson, 2011)
    7. 7. Background and Research QuestionsWhen communication goes from one-to-many to many-to-many onsocial media platforms, and reflexive negotiation of the self ispracticed semi-publically in front of networks of peers and like-minded, political participation changes and becomes governed byother forms of/ combination of rationalities than before.
    8. 8. OverviewBackground and Research QuestionsThree StudiesThe Method: (n)EthnographyProblem 1) Nina as Case StudyProblem 2) Ethical issues Studying Online Communities
    9. 9. Three StudiesParliamentary Initiated Participation – A study of Nina Larsson
    10. 10. Three StudiesBoth instrumental and communicative rational discourse to makeher practices meaningfulBut something else was going on – social media was used asamplifiers, for virtual back-patting and image management
    11. 11. QuickTime och en -dekomprimerarekrハvs fレr att kunna se bilden.
    12. 12. QuickTime och en -dekomprimerarekrハvs fレr att kunna se bilden.
    13. 13. QuickTime och en -dekomprimerarekrハvs fレr att kunna se bilden.
    14. 14. Three StudiesActivist Participation – A study of Middle Class Activist inSouthern Stockholm
    15. 15. Blg
    16. 16. Three StudiesActivists used social media to connect to issues and people withsimilar opinions and similar interests - like-mindednessThe more specialized the group, the more possibilities for action -fragmentation, specialization and action
    17. 17. Three StudiesSocial media platforms underlined connectedness and responsivenessas norms/ values online - updating becoming a pivotal practice.Updating is a two-way practiceNot only about information and mobilization – also about identity- Social media platforms as looking glasses - Networked IndividualismLate modern reflexive individualization is not only about the liberation ofthe individual from institutions of modernity - but also a demand to supplyour life stories, to import our selves into our biographies through our ownactions (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim).
    18. 18. Three StudiesPopular Cultural Participation – A study of Qruiser and FBK (?)
    19. 19. OverviewBackground and Research QuestionsThree StudiesThe Method: (n)EthnographyProblem 1) Nina as Case StudyProblem 2) Ethical issues Studying Online Communities
    20. 20. (n)EthnographySocial media platforms are neither neutral artefacts nor have inherentcapacity for social organization and change (Coleman & Blumler;Feenberg). Technology and society develops in a dialectical relationshipto each other. They should therefore be understood from its uses and itssocial contexts (Digital Late Modernity)Participatory practices on social media platforms are constructed andmade meaningful through a range of complex processes.Hence it is important to study how and in what contexts politicalparticipation take place on social media platforms.
    21. 21. (n)EthnographyMy aims are explorative and hypothesis generative – hence I havechosen to use an ethnographic method, both in its traditional meaning(fieldwork - to hang out with, observe, interview and live amongparticipants - which explains the choices of study objects), but I havealso used ethnography in its virtual form – netnography. Netnographyworks well in combination with a more traditional ethnographic method,especially since the online and offline world mutually influence eachother (Van Dijk, 2006; Baym, 2010).
    22. 22. (n)EthnographyThe internet is understood here as a social room, and the aim is tounderstand the social interactions taking place online.As a researcher you can free yourself from the physical place to conductobservations in a virtual context on communities, focusing on user-generated information flows.Social Media platforms can be used as archives of information, and youcan create your own archives
    23. 23. (n)EthnographyNetnography focuses exclusively on net-based social environments. Thephysical absence is compensated by different textual and figurativerepresentations, which gives the user larger possibilities to reflect on, testand review different ways of action before they become part of the socialinteraction. Because of this enhanced possibility/ requirement ofreflexivity, netnography is a good companion to theories of latemodernity.We can distinguish between asynchronous postings, allowing forgreater reflection and planning and synchronous postings, happening inreal time.
    24. 24. (n)EthnographyIn southern Stockholm followed the activists on all their different socialmedia platforms, took field notes and screenshots.Quantitative background data – counted tweets, facebook and ning-postings – who posted and how much.Participated in online discussions, forwarded tweetsOffline interviews and participations
    25. 25. (n)EthnographyWith Nina Larsson I followed her on Twitter, Facebook, A campaignwebsite, and two blog - took field notes and screenshots.Content analyses – counted blog facebook and twitter postings, whenand how much she posted – who and what she addressed and retweeted
    26. 26. OverviewBackground and Research QuestionsThree StudiesThe Method: (n)EthnographyProblem 1) Nina as Case StudyProblem 2) Ethical issues Studying Online Communities
    27. 27. Problem 1Having got access to many studies on the Swedish elections 2010,and not the least the results from the SOM Värmland Survey, Iwanted to put these results in relation with my research results onNinas use of Social media in her campaign.Nina would be framed as an example of how social media wereused in the Swedish elections, hence Nina shall serve as a case.But it is not completely evident to mix case study and ethnography
    28. 28. Problem 1Most studies from the Swedish elections 2010 focus on either onpolitical parties, or the electorates use of social media – not oncandidates use. These studies can then mostly be used todescribe the general setting, but they say little about the“population” of political candidates.There are studies from the UK and US, but their party system isdifferent. In a multiparty system like Sweden the party has astronger role than in the US and UK
    29. 29. Problem 1Nina would not be a typical case since she did use and integratesocial media (Compared to Grusell & Nord, 2011).But even though a deviant case her conscious use of social mediamakes her suitable for an in-depth explorative study into therationales of social media campaigning practices.
    30. 30. Problem 1Consider her as a pathway case (Gerring, 2007) since the study ofher aims at elucidating causal mechanisms behind politicalcandidates uses .The study is explorative and hypothesis generating in its aimsrather than hypothesis testing, looking to spread light intomechanism rather than effects, hence a pathway case.Nina is an example of a future generation of politicians and hercampaign provides insights into the rationales of campaigning onsocial media platforms in a party-based representative democracy.
    31. 31. OverviewBackground and Research QuestionsThree studiesThe Method: (n)EthnographyProblem 1) Nina as Case StudyProblem 2) Ethical issues Studying Online Communities
    32. 32. Problem 2To study popular cultural participation I will participate on the Ice-hockey team FBKs forum online and the HBTQ forum Qruiser tostudy how the political occurs and is discussed and whatrationalities governs political participation here.I will use mostly a netnographic method (perhaps some offlineinterviews/ telephone interviews as well as content analyses).
    33. 33. Problem 2The problem: These sites are not public in the sense that you firsthave to become a member before you can take part/ read thethreads.