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Ongoing project

Communication Power of Politicians in a Digital Age (CEPOL)

Consequences for Participation and Democracy.

Project period March 2018 - December 2021
Project employer Norges forskningsråd
Project nr. 10271 / NFR: 281194
Project leader Kari Steen-Johnsen
bilde av politikere og en sky med sosiale medier

Illustration: Colourbox.com/ISF.

Project Background

Digitalization challenges the traditional role of mass media as gatekeepers and distributors of political information in the public sphere. Thus new opportunities open up for politicians to set the agenda and communicate with voters. In the current political climate, this development has caused international concern, with the Brexit vote and the Twitter communication of Donald Trump as imminent cases.

Project Aim

The CEPOL project studies the implications of this development for representative, deliberative and participatory democracy by studying politicians’ agenda setting and framing powers vis-a-vis citizens, and relates this to citizens’ behaviour in the digital political communication system.

Project Approach

On the one hand, digitalization can be positive for representative democracy, by enabling effective dissemination of political information and direct communication between politicians and citizens. On the other, it can give politicians excessive power vis-à-vis their voters. For deliberative democracy a main question is whether increased media power of politicians leads to an open and pluralistic public sphere, or whether it leads to polarization and the formation of echo chambers and ideological clusters. For participative democracy, a core issue is whether digitalization leads to more civic and political participation, across social groups, and what role political information emanating from politicians play in this context.

CEPOL employs survey data, media content data, and social media data to examine:

  1. The structure of Norwegian politicians’ Twitter audiences
  2. The agenda-setting and framing power of politicians in social media
  3. Changes in political media use and consequences for democratic participation among Norwegian citizens from 2011 to 2018

CEPOL finally uses findings from the empirical studies as basis for a normative discussion of the implications of the new media power of politicians to representative, deliberative and participatory democracy.

Participants

ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Audun Beyer Affiliated Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 402 23 626 audun.beyer@samfunnsforskning.no
Bernard Enjolras Research Professor, Director Center for research on civil society and voluntary sector PhD +47 976 89 237 bernard.enjolras@samfunnsforskning.no
Rune Karlsen Research Professor (20% position) PhD rune.karlsen@samfunnsforskning.no
Kari Steen-Johnsen Research Professor PhD +47 906 49 417 kari.steen-johnsen@samfunnsforskning.no
Cristian Vaccari (University of Loughborough, UK)
Andrew Salway (Uni Research Computing)

Publications

  • Wollebæk, Dag; Thorbjørnsrud, Kjersti & Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2022). Holdninger til ytringsfrihet i Norge: et nytt kart og kompass. In Mangset, Marte; Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen & Thorbjørnsrud, Kjersti (Ed.), Ytringsfrihet i en ny offentlighet : Grensene for debatt og rommet for kunnskap. Universitetsforlaget. p. 33–56. doi: 10.18261/9788215051017-2022-02.
  • Karlsen, Rune & Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2021). Nyheter, sosiale nettverk og lokalpolitisk orientering i lokalvalgkamp. In Saglie, Jo; Segaard, Signe Bock & Christensen, Dag Arne (Ed.), Lokalvalget 2019: Nye kommuner - nye valg?. Cappelen Damm Akademisk. p. 117–142. doi: 10.23865/noasp.134.ch5.
  • Bergh, Johannes; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Ødegård, Guro (2021). Det politiske generasjonsgapet. In Ødegård, Guro & Pedersen, Willy (Ed.), UNGDOMMEN. Cappelen Damm Akademisk. p. 337–360. doi: 10.23865/noasp.142.
  • Enjolras, Bernard; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Beyer, Audun (2018). Forholdet mellom online- og offline-deltakelse i frivillige organisasjoner. In Enjolras, Bernard & Eimhjellen, Ivar (Ed.), Fra kollektiv til konnektiv handling? Nye former for samfunnsengasjement og kollektiv handling i Norge . Cappelen Damm Akademisk. p. 101–126. doi: 10.23865/noasp.45.ch4. Full text in Research Archive

View all works in Cristin

  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Karlsen, Rune (2022). Political agenda setting in the digital public sphere – an actor centered approach.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari; Thau, Mads & Vaccari, Cristian (2022). The Road to Citizenship is through Dialogue: How Discussing Politics Reinforces Political Interest.
  • Haugsgjerd, Atle; Karlsen, Rune; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Beyer, Audun (2022). Less Informed and Less Confident Citizens: Social Media, Retrieval Accuracy and Confidence in Political Knowledge.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2022). Steile fronter om fylkets framtid på sosiale medier: - Identitet kan være lett å mobilisere rundt, sier forsker. Oppland arbeiderblad.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2021). Hvordan vil sosiale medier prege valgåret 2021?
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2021). Den digitale valgkampen 2021.
  • Haugsgjerd, Atle; Karlsen, Rune; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Beyer, Audun (2021). Misinformed or uninformed? A panel-study of how the use of social media as a news source influences political knowledge .
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Enjolras, Bernard Louis (2021). Digitalisering og offentlighet – forskningen på ISF.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2021). Først var det Eldreopprøret. Så var det Oljebrølet. Nå går Frp inn i strømprotest på Facebook. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2020). Panelsamtale om det sosiologiske tillitsbegrepet.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2020). Offentlighet og polarisering.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Offentligheten som rom for frie uttrykk.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Polarisering, fragmentering og ekkokamre.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Personvern, politikermakt og demokrati - innlegg i paneldebatt.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Mener mediene har «berøringsangst»: – Vi skal høre på folk når de er forbannet. [Newspaper]. Aftenposten.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari; Boulianne, Shelley; Koc-Michalska, Karolina & Bimber, Bruce (2019). Digital media, networks, and offline volunteering: A comparative study.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Facebook stopper vaksinemotstandere. [Radio]. NRK P2 Studio 2.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Trenger kvinner beskyttelse? [Radio]. NRK P2 Kurér.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2018). Media, misinformation and polarization.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2018). Folkemassene alene får ikke politikerne til å handle. [Internet]. TV2 Nyhetskanalen.

View all works in Cristin

Tags: Elections and Democracy, Civil Society, Digitalization
Published July 9, 2018 1:11 PM - Last modified June 18, 2020 1:36 PM