News & Events
Our latest news and past and upcoming events
New O3C Article by Andrew Chadwick: The New Crisis of Public Communication: Challenges and Opportunities for Future Research on Digital Media and Politics
As the post-2016 political context becomes embedded, there is profound uncertainty about the long-term impact of digital media on the civic cultures of liberal democracies. In this article, Andrew Chadwick argues that the legacy of research on digital media and politics has created four epistemological problems that have hindered attempts to make sense of what amounts to a new crisis of public communication. Research in the field has tended to select cases that are progressive or pro-liberal democratic and it has usually employed what he terms the engagement gaze. Research has underestimated the trade-offs between affective solidarity and rational deliberation and it has been driven by a rationality expectation that neglects the role of indeterminacy in digital culture. For more than twenty years, researchers have focused on whether online “engagement” was being sufficiently embedded in political or journalistic organizational settings, irrespective of the motivations and ideological goals of those who actually engage. This has often obscured problematic aspects of how digital media may be reshaping the formation of public opinion and behaviour in ways that contribute, alongside other factors, to the erosion of liberal democratic norms of authenticity, rationality, tolerance, and trust. Addressing these epistemological challenges—a project already underway across a range of research endeavours—will better equip the field for the future.
The O3C Seminars, 2019-2020
Held each semester, the O3C Seminars provide a supportive, community-building forum for researchers to present their ideas and receive feedback from supervisors and the O3C Advisory Board members, who will participate from time to time. The O3C Seminars also occasionally feature visiting speakers from around the world. Selected events are recorded and are available via the O3C Podcast. All welcome!
New O3C Survey Report: News Sharing on UK Social Media: Misinformation, Disinformation & Correction
Very little is known about the motivations that drive people to share political news on social media and how these might be contributing to changes in our online civic culture. If we can learn more about the things people try to achieve when they share news online—and the extent to which these motivations might reinforce or undermine the distribution of false or misleading information—liberal democracies can start to think about how they can reduce important online harms. This report is the first to address these issues in Britain on the basis of a survey of the news sharing habits on social media of a representative sample of the British public. It was authored by Professor Andrew Chadwick and Dr Cristian Vaccari. We gratefully acknowledge the support of O3C data partner Opinium Research, which provided its survey services pro bono.
The O3C Seminars 2018–2019
Held three times per semester, the O3C Seminars provide a supportive, community-building forum for researchers to present their ideas and receive feedback from supervisors and the O3C Advisory Board members, who will participate from time to time. The O3C Seminars also occasionally feature visiting speakers from around the world. Selected events are recorded and are available via the O3C Podcast. All welcome!