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Department of Political Science

Political polarization in the digital age



Pablo Barberá
London School of Economics, UK



Denise Traber
University of Lucerne, Switzerland


Keywords: Political polarization, social media analysis, public opinion, political attitudes

Description: This workshop focuses on causes and consequences of political polarization in the Digital Age. In recent years, political polarization has been one of the most discussed phenomena, in public as well as in scientific discourse. However, most of the discussion has focused on the US context. The first part of the workshop will be devoted to different conceptualizations and drivers of political polarization. How do we define and measure political polarization? In what regard is political polarization different in Europe compared to the USA? How is political polarization on the elite level related to polarization on the mass level? What are the important institutional, societal and economic drivers of political polarization? The second part of the workshop focuses on social media as a specific driver. Do social networking sites foster the emergence of echo chamber and filter bubbles where individuals are only exposed to information that reinforces their political opinions? If so, does that exacerbate political polarization and the spread of misinformation? And how do these effects vary across countries? The workshop aims first to contribute to a better theoretical understanding and empirical knowledge of political polarization beyond the US context. Second, the participants will learn about different approaches to measure political polarization on- and offline.

Target group: Doctoral students, advanced Master students and postdoctoral researchers who work on political polarization and the role of social media in political processes.

Weiterführende Informationen