Dr Anstead’s research focuses on political communication practices and their relationship with political institutions. Additionally, he has researched the ways in which political ideas develop, circulate and are used in debate. Geographically, Dr Anstead’s work has tended to focus on British, continental European and North American politics.
Dr Anstead’s recent work has covered a variety of topics including:
- The development of the concept of austerity in British political debate since the financial crisis. Using a large dataset of think tank publications that appeared both before and after the financial crisis, computer assisted text analysis methods were used to understand the way in which discussions about austerity had evolved over time and links into wider policy debates (available from LSE Research Online).
- New ways of measuring public opinion (especially social media monitoring) and how they are used in media coverage of politics. This work has particularly focused on how the concept of public opinion is defined, and argues that older ideas about public opinion, particularly from the 19th century and early 20th century offered useful definitions for those seeking to deploy new measurement tools (this research co-authored with Professor Ben O’Loughlin is available from LSE Research Online)
- The evolution of political campaigns in comparative perspective. Dr Anstead has written on a range of topics covering contemporary campaigns, including televised election debates in parliamentary democracies (available from LSE Research Online), the role of data and social media in campaign targeting (available from LSE Research Online) and how think tanks can shape debate around economic policy during election campaigns (co-authored with Professor Andrew Chadwick and available from LSE Research Online).
Dr Anstead’s work has contributed to public debate on a number of topical issues. He was the co-editor of a Fabian pamphlet The Change We Need (2009, with Will Straw) on what British progressives could learn from the organization and communication of Barack Obama’s presidential election victory. This volume had a Foreword by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Dr Anstead’s Media Policy Project working paper Televised Debates in Parliamentary Democracies (2015, available here) was widely covered by the UK media in the run up to that year’s election, and was circulated to senior media figures in the pre-debate negotiation period. The only debate of the election campaign, broadcast on ITV, employed a format similar to that recommended in the report.
Dr Anstead has acted as a consultant for the think tank Unions 21 undertaking research on how trade unions employ the internet in their campaigns. He has spoken at events organized by a number of organizations, including the Fabian Society, Progress, the Institute for Government and the Rand Institute (California and Brussels). He is on the board of 38 Degrees and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.
Dr Anstead has regularly appeared on national and international media, including BBC Newsnight, BBC One Show, BBC News Channel, More4 News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Scotland, the BBC World Service, AP, AFP, CNN and Reuters. Media enquiries can be made to the LSE Press Office or directly.