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Mediated Political Agency

Changing relations between the media and their forms, subjects and modalities of political and civic agency 

Examples of Research Activities

We undertake research on political parties, election campaigning and the use of social media and the implications for political participation and democracy. Nick Anstead|’s| research examines these issues in the UK and the US with attention to campaign financing, interactions between traditional media and social media platforms when people participate in real-time commentary, and the role of data analytics in public opinion polling.

Research by Bart Cammaerts |is focusing on the relationships between new forms of mediation and political protest and resistance, highlighting both the logics of protest movements online and the implications of specific developments, such as WikiLeaks.

Damian Tambini’s |research on consumer representation in the UK Communications policy sphere has investigated whether their voices are adequately represented in regulatory forums. He has also examined whether a common information space in the European Union is facilitating citizenship and mobility.

Our research examines how people engage with media as audiences and as active participants, and how this relates to their broader participation in society. 

Shakuntala Banaji’s |has undertaken comparative research on the way young people in Europe participate online with civic concerns and how their participation is influencing the civic organisations that work with them leading to her book, The Civic Web. The ‘Youth Participation in Democratic Life|’ project took up some of these themes 2011-12 with Nick Anstead and Bart Cammaerts.

Lilie Chouliaraki| has focused on the role of new media in shaping contemporary forms of transnational solidarity, in the spheres of humanitarian activism and citizen journalism.

Myria Georgiou’s |research on Media & Citizenship |examined the way transnational television culture is reshaping political identities in the European Union. This project provided unique insights into television consumption of Arabic-speaking audiences across Europe. Leading research in three countries, the LSE team analysed the ways in which the meaning of citizenship is constructed among Arabic-speaking people.

Bingchun Meng |has studied online spoofs as a form of political expression in the Chinese media ecology employing a cultural approach that emphasises the mutual constitution of communicative activity and subjectivity demonstrating that these spoofs qualify neither as rational debate in a public sphere nor do they yield political consequences, although they do constitute a significant part of civic culture.

Wendy Willems’ |research has examined what it means to participate when corporate logics inform participatory relationships between media and audiences, specifically in the case of radio in Zambia. An edited volume will examine civic agency and the arts of resistance in Africa in the 21st century.

Other comparative research projects examine young people’s internet-based participation, including a focus on online risks and opportunities and ICT-related skills in the UK and abroad.

Ellen Helsper’s |research has investigated cross-cultural patterns of digital engagement online, whether or not ‘digital natives’ are acquiring a broad range of skills and the social dynamics that can lead to exclusion from access to and creative uses of the internet. A current project, funded by the John Fell Fund, University of Oxford,  is developing scales for measuring digital skills, internet use and the effectiveness of that use developed through qualitative interviews and larger population testing.

Sonia Livingstone’s| EU Kids Online| project monitors the experiences of children and parents in 33 countries in relation to the internet and mobile technologies. Funded by the EC’s Safer Internet Programme|, this project reports on what children are doing online, and what they and also what their parents, are worried about. The aim is to understand the contexts and consequences of internet use so as to produce evidence that can guide policy making.

Sonia Livingstone| is writing her book on The Class: living and learning in the digital age, based on research| conducted with the Connected Learning Research Network funded by the MacArthur Foundation. See interview here|

Building on an ESRC Seminar Series, The Educational and Social Impact of New Technologies on Young People in Britain, and as part of the  MacArthur Foundation|-funded ‘Connected Learning Research Network’|The Class| is an ethnographic project exploring the relations between digital, social and learning networks among a class of 13-14 year olds inside and outside school.


In this area, we participate in a variety of networks including the COST-funded Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies|,Family Platform: Social platform on research for families and family policy|, and the World Internet Project|.

Selected publications|