Cornelia Reyes Acosta

Supervisors: Dr. Ellen Helsper and Dr. Shakuntala Banaji


Research Topic: The implications of using social network sites (SNS) on the social capital of European youth.

Research Interests: New media, social capital research, social network analysis, Internet and children/youth, social exclusion

My doctoral research at LSE aims at disclosing the impact of the use of social network sites on young people in Europe. Drawing on the concept of “social capital”, which is used to define the strategies users apply in order to benefit from established social ties, the study aims to illustrate how young people’s use of social networks affects their social status. Specifically, I am interested to understand how individuals access resources embedded in their social networks and how they eventually benefit from interacting with their peers online.

The results of the study will be based on a multi-method empirical approach, involving quantitative and qualitative methods to illustrate how the daily use of social network sites impacts young peoples social identity.

Working experience:

Prior to coming to the LSE, I was working for the European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA), an independent European organisation composed of national youth information coordination bodies and networks based in Luxembourg. I was responsible there for managing the “Safety and Quality in Youth Information” project, a European Commission funded project with the aim to create and disseminate knowledge for Youth Information workers to empower young people to make better use of available online Youth Information resources. At ERYICA, I was responsible for managing a network of 30+ member countries across Europe and liaising with representatives of major stakeholders such as the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Youth Forum.

Aside from my experience at ERYICA, I have also received extensive training as a radio journalist at the Austrian Broadcasting Cooperation (ORF) radio division and at Thomson Reuters in Vienna.

Academic background:

I obtained a first degree in Communication Sciences, Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Vienna, which I completed in 2006 with a dissertation that investigated the changing working conditions of Austrian radio journalists as influenced by the deregulation of the Austrian radio sector (with distinction). Upon completion of my degree in Vienna, I went on to do a Master’s in European Communication Studies at the International School for Humanities and Social Sciences (now Graduate School for Social Sciences) at the University of Amsterdam. It was here where I discovered my interest for the Internet and its effects on society. I graduated in 2008 with a master’s thesis on war blogs and their relevance for deliberative democracy, with the support of my supervisors, Dr. James Slevin and Prof. Cees Hamelink.

Academic Awards:

ESRC – Economic and Social Research Council – Doctoral Training Studentship.

LSE Department of Media and Communications – Media and Communication Research Studentship.

Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF): Postgraduate studentship for financing Master’s studies at the University of Amsterdam.