Tagged / politics

BU He Policy update for the w/e 29th September 2017

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Non-Executive Board

On Thursday Jo Johnson announced the non-executive members of the UKRI Board.

  • Sir John Kingman (Chair of UKRI) is the Legal and General Group Chairman and Former Second Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury
  • Fiona Driscoll (UKRI Audit Committee Chair) is Chair of the Audit Committee of Nuffield Health
  • Mustafa Suleyman is co-founder and Head of Applied AI at DeepMind
  • Professor Sir Peter Bazalgette is the founder of a successful independent TV production company and now Executive Chairman of ITV
  • Professor Julia Black is Pro Director for Research at the London School of Economics
  • Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (stepping down at the end of the month), and Chair of Cancer Research UK
  • Lord (John) Browne of Madingley is the Executive Chairman of L1 Energy, and former Chief Executive of BP plc
  • Sir Harpal Kumar is the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK
  • Professor Max Lu is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey
  • Professor Sir Ian Diamond is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen
  • Professor Alice Gast is President of Imperial College London
  • Vivienne Parry is Head of Engagement for Genomics England
  • Lord (David) Willetts is Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation and former Minister for Universities and Science
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies – as Chief Medical Officer and serving civil servant, Dame Sally will not be a formal member of the board but will join board meetings in a personal capacity.

Sir John Kingman, interim UKRI Chair stated: “UKRI’s Board brings together an extraordinary array of brilliant scientific and business leaders. Together with the emerging executive team led by Mark Walport, we will be superbly equipped to ensure the new organisation delivers on the great opportunities it has.”

Jo Johnson said: “UKRI has a pivotal role in our future as a knowledge economy. This is an exceptionally strong board that will ensure the UK’s world leading research system stays at the frontier of science and innovation for decades to come.”

The government has committed to investing over £6 billion per annum in research and innovation.

Labour Party Conference

Industry Research & Innovation

The chair of the Data Analytics All Party Parliamentary Group, Daniel Zeichner, writes in Politics Home on How to convert UK excellence in science and research into wider economic success. Zeichner is a fan of the 2010 Labour government’s Catapult Network. Catapults are technology and innovation centres that are business-led by industry experts providing companies with access to expertise and equipment to speed up the commercialisation of research and drive economic growth.

Zeichner believes adopting new technology is essential to improve UK productivity but that Britain needs to be better at this, stating we’re behind other nations. Catapult centres will shortly fall with UKRI’s remit (UKRI is the merger of the UK’s seven research councils) and Zeichner sees this as advantageous for a more seamless diffusion of research expertise into the private sector, matching industry with update technology. The sticking point is that Catapults are currently partly financed by EU funding so Brexit may well lead to their downscaling or demise. In addition to supporting the expansion of the Catapult network Labour calls for new Retails and Materials and Metals Centres, and for R&D % of GDP spending to be raised, plus additional new investment. Zeichner pledges this will all happen if Labour is elected at the next general election.

In the meantime we need to see what is included in the forthcoming Industrial Strategy White Paper and the autumn budget, and of course any announcements at the Conservative conference.

Immigration – Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot claimed the Conservatives have ‘weaponised’ immigration. She stated the immigration targets are ‘bogus’ and will never be met. Meanwhile at the Labour party conference backbenchers are battling for Labour to amend policy and campaign for continued access of the EU single market and customs union post-Brexit. This would mean committing to retaining free movement.

Sadiq Khan @SadiqKhan To the one million EU citizens in London: you are Londoners, you are welcome & you make a huge contribution. @TSSAunion @LabourList #Lab17

Fees – Wonkhe report that Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said that as “a result of Labour pressure, the government is now being forced into discussing reducing interest rates or raising repayment thresholds. If they bring forward effective proposals we will support them.” Wonkhe state the Shadow Chancellor did not indicate what he hoped the government would propose precisely, nor would he be drawn on the level of Government compromise that he would support.

Gordon Marsden, speaking at a UCU fringe event, stated the party would “wait and see” what the government offers before committing to a particular course of action. However, he called on the government to present a holistic package including action on loan repayment terms and maintenance support. Marsden wouldn’t state a figure for the level of fee cap which he would support as part of a deal on the student funding system.

BME teachers in schools – Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner hit the headlines this week after indicating that current school recruitment policies are not promoting equality stating: “If the only people we see in schools that are black or ethnic minority are the cleaners… then we are perpetuating the problems we have in our communities…. I am sick of soft targets. I am all for hard targets, and if it means we have to force quotas, then I am an advocate for that.”

An article in Politics Home notes that an additional 68,000 teachers from BME backgrounds would be required to reflect the proportion of ethnic minority pupils in English state schools and quotes a DfE source who notes a steady increase in the minority ethnic trainee teachers recently and describes the Leadership, Equality and Diversity Fund. This supports schools to provide coaching and mentoring for BME teachers and increase the representation of BME teachers in senior leadership roles.

National Education Service – Angela Rayner launched her 10 principles behind the National Education Service (NES) described here by Schools Week. This is Labour’s ‘cradle to grave’ proposal for the reform of education and includes increasing school funding, free adult education throughout life, valuing all forms of education and pushing technical and apprenticeship streams as alternatives to traditional routes such as HE. David Morris (ex-Wonkhe, now VC’s policy adviser at Greenwich) blogs for Wonkhe to question what it would mean for the HE sector if Labour were elected and implemented the NES in 2022.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Keynote Conference Speech

Corbyn’s keynote speech which closed the Labour Party Conference emphasised skills and training focusing on free tuition throughout life at any stage and improving on technical and vocational training, establishing these as equal-status alternative routes. Corbyn envisions the National Education Service as ‘universal, free and empowering’, a service that “will give millions a fair chance”.’ A flurry of debate followed on twitter on whether abolishing HE tuition fees would mean reinstating student number controls.

A student numbers cap is not inevitable in a fee-free system, says @GordonMarsden in response to @mgmcquillan , and he doesn’t want one.

During the (very long) speech Corbyn reiterated Labour’s message to the Government “pull yourself together or make way” and detailed the Conservative manifesto commitments that have been dropped from policy, such as grammar school expansion. One aspect Labour agree with the Conservatives on is the importance of the Industrial Strategy.

In his speech, Jeremey Corbyn supported the automation thread prevalent in the Government’s Industrial Strategy for its potential to contribute to the nation’s work/life balance “We need urgently to face the challenge of automation… [it] is a threat in the hands of the greedy but what an opportunity if it’s managed in the interests of society as a whole.”

A Labour spokesperson stated to Politics Home that: increased use of new technology in the workplace will inevitably boost productivity, and a Labour government would force them to pass on the benefits of that to employees through higher wages and shorter hours….

“…the potential for this big technological leap and the increase in productivity to be shared in different ways. If it’s under the control only of large corporations, as it is currently, the sharing out is in one direction in long hours, the fall in real wages and increased profits. Who is in control of that process? If that process of big employment transformation is going to be managed for the benefit of the workforce, that needs to be planned at a national level, it can’t just be left to the companies employing those people or introducing advanced robotics.”

Fringe event – Tackling disadvantage experienced by the armed forces community – This fringe event focussed on issues of housing, education and barriers to future employment. There were calls for skills and qualifications to be transferable and compatible with those in civilian institutions and a particular need for work experience and placements alongside qualifications.

Fringe Event – Brexit Generation: The Debate – This fringe event presented evidence on the issues that prompted young people to vote. Asha, a Young Labour member stated the Brexit message to young people had been wrong and it needed to go beyond thinking about issues like Erasmus and University. Asha went on to say that young people wanted to engage on important issues like mental health in schools, changing the education system so it was not an “exam factory” and building a generation of young people with the digital skills they need.

Labour MP Wes Streeting said education was ‘his number one priority’ and ‘the closest thing to a silver bullet for tackling social issues’. Children should be given the opportunity to explore, fail and find what they are great at rather than being pushing into huge numbers of stressful exams, he stated.

Finally…Wonkhe responded to the Labour Party Conference proclamations discussing where some Labour HE policies would benefit from further details in Key questions for Labour and its higher education policy.

Student Retention

William Hammond, Universities UK, blogged about student dropout rates this week. The blog is in response to a sensationalist Sky News story which targets individual programmes at three universities with dropout rates of 50-60% without considering the validity of the statistics.

Hammond reports that the true picture for the national dropout rate for 2014/15 is near a record low at 6.2%, yet pockets of poor retention are seen within mature students at 11.8%; LPN (students coming from geographical populations where few access HE provision) at 8.2%; and acknowledges ethnicity can also be a factor. (Note: Hammond is only looking at non-completion in first year undergraduate students.)

The blog considers how universities retain students (see paragraphs 3 and 4 here) such as ensuring study choices are right for the student through providing clear information and outreach programmes, inclusive measures and the sticky campus concept.

A commenter to the blog (Andy Penaluna) questions why we don’t track student dropout for positive career opportunities.

Science and Innovation Audits

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) invited consortia to form around geographic and technological themes and apply to be involved in the science and innovation audit (SIA) process. These consortia are made up of businesses, universities, research and innovation organisations, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their equivalents in the devolved administrations.

The summary report presents the findings of the second wave of audits:

Alternative Providers

HEFCE have commenced a planned series of blogs on Alternative Providers. On Wednesday they explored the diversity of alternative providers in Alternative providers: debunking the myths. The blog covers the variability of alternative providers with regard to sizes, focus, geographical location and student loan eligibility. The blog is a useful simple introduction for colleagues unfamiliar with alternative providers.

Parliamentary Questions

Student Loans

Q: Bambos Charalambous – Whether she plans to (a) cap or (b) reduce the interest rate applied to student loans.

A: Jo Johnson – We have a world class student finance system, which has enabled record numbers of people to benefit from a university education. Latest UCAS data for 2017 shows more disadvantaged young people have been accepted to university than for the whole of the 2016 application cycle.

The student funding system removes financial barriers for anyone hoping to study, and is backed by the taxpayer. The interest rate on student loans remains significantly below the relevant Bank of England reference rate for unsecured personal lending. In addition, the repayment terms of student loans are significantly more favourable for the borrowers than commercial loans. Monthly repayments are linked to income and not to the amount borrowed or the interest rate. Borrowers earning less than the repayment threshold of £21,000 repay nothing at all. Loans are written off after 30 years with no detriment to the borrower, and student loans are available to all eligible students regardless of their previous financial history.

As with all Government policy, we continue to keep the detailed features of the system under review to ensure it remains fair and effective.

Other news

The Scottish Funding Council published a report on Widening Access 2015-16 showing dropout rates for disadvantaged students at 13% (drop out is 7% for affluent students). The Herald covers the story here.

The Guardian report on Clearing 2017: what worked for universities, and what didn’t shares a perspective from four universities on this year’s Clearing marketing practices.

Fees – Simon Marginson blogs for Wonkhe highlighting that the contribution a university education makes as public goods hasn’t been picked up during the current tuition fee wrangling. It touches upon accessibility to HE, a graduate’s more discriminating understanding of culture, and goods at the collective level – new knowledge created by research, positive effects of higher education on social tolerance. On the TEF Simon writes: If higher education institutions follow the logic of the consumer market and the Teaching Excellence Framework as the government wants them to do, over time unfinanced public goods will be whittled away. The TEF requires institutions to focus on maximising individual student satisfaction scores and individual employability. This requires England’s universities to target more precisely their spending and activities to maximise performance as measured by the TEF indicators. In other words, the more the university neglects extraneous unfunded public goods such its contributions to the local region, the more ‘effective’ it will become. Simon ends by debating whether the private/public split that funds HE should be differently balanced.

The Guardian ran an article on overseas academics who have been refused visas to speak at UK conferences.

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BU academics publish UK election report within 10 days of vote

We are very pleased to announce the publication of UK Election Analysis 2017: Media, Voters and the Campaign, edited by Einar Thorsen, Daniel Jackson and Darren Lilleker.
Featuring 92 contributions from over 100 leading academics and emerging scholars across the world, this free publication captures the immediate thoughts, reflections and early research insights on the 2017 UK General Election on from the cutting edge of media and politics research.
Published just 10 days after the election, these contributions are short and accessible. Authors provide authoritative analysis of the campaign, including research findings or new theoretical insights; to bring readers original ways of understanding the election and its consequences. Contributions also bring a rich range of disciplinary influences, from political science to cultural studies, journalism studies to geography.
The publication is available as a free downloadable PDF, as a website and as a paperback report.
Thanks to all of our contributors and production staff who helped make the quick turnaround possible. We hope it makes for a vibrant and engaging read!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction (Einar Thorsen, Dan Jackson, Darren Lilleker)
Context
1. Looking on the bright side for a change (Jay Blumler)
2. The performance of the electoral system (Alan Renwick)
3. Fixed-term parliaments and the electoral cycle (Richard Parry)
4. Institutions and nation building: there is such a thing as society (Matthew Johnson)
5. Global questions, parochial answers (Roman Gerodimos)
6. The future of illusions (Barry Richards)
Voters, Polls and Results
7. A glorious defeat: anti-politics and the funnelling of frustration (Matthew Flinders)
8. Younger voters politically energised, but the generational divide deepens (James Sloam)
9. Why the younger generation of Corbynistas? (Pippa Norris)
10. Young people and propaganda in the wake of the 2017 election (Shakuntala Banaji)
11. The generation election: youth electoral mobilisation at the 2017 General Election (Matt Henn and James Hart)
12. The 2017 General Election: How Votes were split between “open and closed” (Jonathan Wheatley)
13. Cartographic perspectives of the general election (Benjamin D. Hennig)
14. UKIP’s former supporters were crucial to the outcome – but not as generally expected (Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie)
15. Why did the Lib Dems fail to benefit from the anti-Brexit vote? (Panos Koliastasis)
16. Meeting the public: the perils and pitfalls of ‘walkabout’ questions to Theresa May in GE2017 (Sylvia Shaw)
17. Political participation in the UK: why might voters have voted? (Bruce Bimber, Shelley Boulianne, Karolina Koc-Michalska and Darren Lilleker)
18. Moments of accidental connection with the ‘Great British Public’: because Brenda et al know best! (Richard Scullion)
19. When democracy kicked back (Natalie Fenton)
News and Journalism
20. Conventional wisdom distorted TV news coverage of campaign (Stephen Cushion)
21. A tale of two leaders: news media coverage of the 2017 General Election (David Deacon, John Downey, David Smith, James Stanyer and Dominic Wring)
22. Did broadcast stage-management create a vacuum for social media? (Charlie Beckett)
23. Ducking the debate (Stephen Coleman)
24. Caught in the middle: the BBC’s impossible impartiality dilemma (Martin Moore and Gordon Ramsay)
25. Media policy: the curious incident of the dog in the night-time (Jonathan Hardy)
26. The use and abuse of the vox pop in the 2017 UK General Election television news coverage (Mark Wheeler)
27. Media bias hits a wall (Des Freedman)
28. Declining newspaper sales and the role of broadcast journalism in the 2017 general election (Guy Starkey)
29. Newspapers’ editorial opinions: stuck between a rock and a hard place (Julie Firmstone)
30. It’s the Sun wot lost it (Mick Temple)
31. From Brexit to Corbyn: agenda setting, framing and the UK media – a research agenda (Steve Schifferes)
32. Is our national press a fading dinosaur? Don’t bank on it (Steven Barnett)
33. A mixed mailbag: letters to the editor during the electoral campaign (Iñaki Garcia-Blanco)
34. Long live the wisdom of the phone-in crowd (Ivor Gaber)
35. Fact-checking the election (Jennifer Birks)
36. Should we worry about fake news? (Susan Banducci, Dan Stevens and Travis Coan)
37. Tweets, campaign speeches and dogs at polling stations: the election on live blogs (Marina Dekavalla)
38. Process, personalities and polls: online news coverage of the UK General Election 2017 (Emily Harmer and Rosalynd Southern)
39. Online election news can be bloody difficult (for a) woman (Emily Harmer)
40. Not just swearing and loathing on the internet: analysing BuzzFeed and VICE during #GE2017 (James Dennis and Susana Sampaio-Dias)
Parties and the Campaign
41. The battle for authenticity (Karin Wahl-Jorgensen)
42. Was it the Labour doorstep or the Labour smartphone that swung it for Jeremy? (Tim Bale)
43. The election at constituency level (Ralph Negrine)
44. Over-managing the media: how it all went wrong (Suzanne Franks)
45. Aristotle and persuasive copywriting in the 2017 General Election (Nigel Jackson)
46. Rhetoric of the 2017 General Election campaign (Andrew Crines)
47. When is an electoral ‘bribe’ not a bribe? (Chris Roberts)
48. PEBs in 2017: not gone, but largely forgotten? (Vincent Campbell)
49. ‘Strong and stable’ to ‘weak and wobbly’: Tory campaign, media reaction and GE2017 (Anthony Ridge-Newman)
50. The Greens and the “progressive alliance” (Jenny Alexander)
51. It’s the way I tell ‘em: car crash politics and the gendered turn (Karen Ross)
52. Dogwhistle sexism (Heather Savigny)
53. The Women’s Equality Party and the 2017 General Election (Elizabeth Evans and Meryl Kenny)
54. The resurrection of ethical foreign policy (Victoria Honeyman)
55. Why immigration faded from view in election 2017 (Thomas Brooks)
56. Invisible enemies, wars without winners: when ‘khaki elections’ fail (James Morrison)
57. The sobering reality of backdoors: cybersecurity and surveillance circumvention during GE2017 (Einar Thorsen)
The Digital Campaign
58. Corbyn, Labour, digital media, and the 2017 UK election (Andrew Chadwick)
59. Was it ‘AI wot won it’? Hyper-targeting and profiling emotions online (Vian Bakir and Andrew McStay)
60. Sharing is caring: Labour supporters use of social media #GE2017 (Anamaria Dutceac and Michael Bossetta)
61. Labour’s social media campaign: more posts, more video, and more interaction (Richard Fletcher)
62. Like me, share me: the people’s social media campaign (Darren Lilleker)
63. The alternate and influential world of the political parties’ Facebook feeds (Matt Walsh)
64. Social media and the Corbyn breakthrough (Mark Shephard)
65. The UK digisphere and the 2017 election (Aljosha Karim Schapals)
66. From voices to votes: how young people used social media to influence the General Election (Vyacheslav Polonski)
67. All LOLs and trolls (Alec Charles)
The Nations
68. Nasty, British and Short: an emotional election (Russell Foster)
69. Scotland in the 2017 UK General Election (Michael Higgins)
70. The General Election did little to solve Wales’ ‘democratic deficit’ (Morgan Jones)
71. GE2017 in Northern Ireland: total eclipse of the moderates (Neil Matthews)
72. Twitter, dual screening and the BBC Northern Ireland Leaders’ debate (Paul Reilly)
Brexit and European Perspectives
73. Brexit without Brexitland (Chris Gifford)
74. Why the General Election will make little difference to the Article 50 negotiations (Simon Usherwood)
75. Totem, taboo and trigger word: the dominance and obscurity of Brexit in the campaigns (Charlotte O’Brien)
76. The Conservatives and Brexit: the election and after (Philip Lynch)
77. The 2017 UK election: reflections from Norway (John Erik Fossum)
78. Partisan and plentiful: the 2017 UK election in the German press (Isabelle Hertner)
79. Expect the unexpected: French media perceptions of the 2017 UK General Election campaign (Emmanuelle Avril)
80. Poles apart: Polish perspectives of the 2017 UK ‘Brexit election’ (Paweł Surowiec)
81. Theresa and Jeremy: who is closer to Matteo? An Italian view of #GE2017 (Emiliana De Blasio and Michele Sorice)
Personality politics and popular culture
82. A tale of two leadership campaigns (Pete Dorey)
83. Seeing Jeremy Corbyn and not seeing Theresa May: the promise of civic spectatorship (Katy Parry)
84. Corbyn and his fans: post-truth, myth and Labour’s hollow defeat (Cornell Sandvoss)
85. It’s the stans wot (nearly) won it (Matt Hills)
86. Celebrities4Corbyn: continuity and change in Labour’s use of celebrities (Ellen Watts)
87. The othering and objectification of Diane Abbott MP (Deborah Gabriel)
88. “Theresa May for Britain”: a personal brand in search of personality (Margaret Scammell)
89. Maybot, Mummy or Iron Lady? Loving and loathing Theresa May (Shelley Thompson and Candida Yates)
90. Politics, charisma, and the celebrity spectre of Nigel Farage (Neil Ewen)
91. Mainstream broadcast comedy and satire (Kay Richardson)
92. Sound bites: the music of Election 2017 (John Street and Adam Behr)

Emotion, Power and Politics in Richard III, 8 July, 6.30pm, BU at the Freud Museum – Tickets now available

‘The Psycho-Cultural Dynamics of

Emotion, Power and Politics in

Richard III’

 

Friday 8th July 2016,

6.30-8pm

Venue:

The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX

Tickets:

https://freud.org.uk/events/76491/the-psycho-cultural-dynamics-of-emotion-power-and-politics-in-richard-iii/

Richard

The Freud Museum in association with Bournemouth University and the Media and Inner World research network present a special panel discussion on the themes of Shakespeare’s Richard III and the motivations of its characters and the play’s relevance for contemporary understandings of emotion and politics. The event includes the performance of some key speeches from the play as performed by actors from the award-winning theatre ensemble, The Faction.

Panel speakers include:

Michael Rustin (University of East London), Margaret Rustin (Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust), Rachel Valentine Smith and Mark Leipacher (The Faction) Chair: Candida Yates (Bournemouth University).

 

Followed by a drinks reception 8-9pm

& celebration of Candida Yates’ latest book,

The Play of Political Culture, Emotion and Identity, Palgrave Macmillan

 

 

Seminar on political violence today

The Politics and Media Research Group in FMC has a very stimulating guest speaker lined up for this afternoon (Monday). Dr. Jeffrey Murer is Lecturer on Collective Violence at the University of St. Andrews, in the School of International Relations. He is unusual for an IR specialist in that he draws deeply on ideas from psychoanalysis in his studies of violent political conflict. The title of his talk is “The Politics of Splitting: Anxiety, Loss and the Anti-Semitic, Anti-Roma Violence of Contemporary Hungary”. While focussing on the situation in Hungary, his talk will illustrate how an interdisciplinary, psycho-social approach can be applied to generate insights into violence in many other contexts.

The talk will be in P406. It will start at 5.00 and be followed, until 6.30, by questions and discussion.

All staff and students are welcome.

Civic political engagement in the new digital era: Paris 24-7 June 2014

The grand international conferences attracting up to 1,000 academics are highly prestigious, however the opportunities to find academics in a field, talk in-depth about approaches, concepts, methodologies, data and future ideas is constrained by the size and scale. Hence BU collaborated with Science-Po (Paris) and Sciencecomm (Audencia Nantes) to bring together scholars whose work has a specific focus on online political engagement in order to explore current thinking and investigate avenues for collaboration. The event #CPE2014 (http://www.cpe2014.com/) attracted 34 participants; some very established some just starting out in a research career, some invited some who submitted abstracts speculatively following the call. What connected the works was the objective of conceptually and empirically determining what engagement and participation means in the age of ubiquitous digital media.

The keynotes from Rachel Gibson (Manchester, UK) and Bruce Bimber (University of California, US) set the scene conceptually asking what is really new in the digital age, and arguing technology is a context for communication and for action as opposed to a cause. Many papers thus explored to what extent we can argue something new has emerged, what might that be and what in terms of political engagement and participation does digital technology facilitate.

What did we learn from this? It is no real surprise to hear of the breadth and depth of the forms and types of activities that online spaces provide. We know vast numbers of organisations, corporate, political and third sector, who populate the world wide web. We also know most of these have gravitated towards social media, having a Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter feed seem de rigeur at the very least. And we find many affordances for Interaction (Giraldo-Luque & Duran-Becerra) as well as learning and engaging (Schneidemesser; Vasilopoulos; de Blasio & Santaniello). The biggest questions revolve around impact, are there new forms of communication, of engagement, of participation, of influence that are a by-product (wanted or unwanted) with the colonisation of the social web?

As would be expected the answers to these questions offer mixed results, and any conclusions are tentative at best. One key theme is the notion of expressive participation, ‘having a say’ whether it be commenting or talking online (Kountouri or Bouillianne for example), acting as an online vigilante (Loveluck) or as a news gatherer (Wimmer & Schultz). The data from studies by Rachel Gibson and colleagues, Christian Vaccari and Homero Gil de Zuniga certainly provide compelling evidence to suggest expression as a pathway to deeper forms of participation. We also gain a sense of how influence can be exacted (Mossberger & Kao; Bang), though also that perhaps the social web can also be a distraction leading users away from the civic rather than more positive perspectives (Bojic). The visualization of forms of expression (Koc-Michalska, Lilleker & Wells; Vergeer, Boynton & Richardson) go some way to understanding some aspects of the nature of these expressions, though they raise issues regarding how to make sense of the big data which can be gathered from the Internet; discussions around this and the tools available was one key outcome of the workshop.

The workshop also showed the importance of mixed methods. We talked of understanding the lifeworld (Lilleker), how politics links with or is seen as separate from the everyday, and whether civic, social, political are the same or each have clear boundaries both conceptually and practically (Bang). But this raised the importance of mixed methods. Vergeer took us beyond the quantitative, sociological meat grinder of the survey which boils down human factors to key indicators, yet this exposes the contradiction when in exploring big data we have to mince and mash rich text resulting from complex behavior to get to the structure (the DNA) rather than the nuances of each individual contribution. Hence the interview (Bouillianne, Neys), ethnographic work (Ozkula) and text and diary entries (Cantioch) offers fascinating insights that can build understanding on top of the numbers (Vozab; Klinger: Hooghe for example).

The workshop therefore is part of a development in the understanding and a revisionist movement around the notions of engagement and participation and the theoretical positions which have to date been used to understand human civic and political behavior. The value of the meeting of these scholars was to identify the different strands of research, the expertise in the field, the current indications from data, the methodologies and where the research should go next. For us some will be exploring collaboration around a Horizon 2020 bid on youth as a driver of social change (YOUNGa-2014a), some further will be meeting again at the ECPR Joint workshops in Warsaw 2015 in a workshop again organized by Koc-Michalska and Lilleker, some will also likely find opportunities to share data and develop publications. A proposal for a special collection is in the pipeline gathering together the more empirically driven works. Hence this now tight-knit group may well remain close and develop as a collaborative network long into the future.

New Book Announcement: Protest Camps

Protest Camps hits indie bookshops and digital shelves worldwide today. Co-authored by Bournemouth University’s Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, Fabian Frenzel (Leicester) and Patrick McCurdy (Ottawa), Protest Camps takes readers on a journey across different cultural, political and geographical landscapes of protest.

From Tahrir Square to Occupy, from the Red Shirts in Thailand to the Teachers in Oaxaca, Protest Camps covers over 50 different protest camps around the world over the past 50 years, offering a ground-breaking and detailed global investigation. Drawing on a wealth of original interview material, the authors argue that protest camps are unique spaces in which people enact new forms of democratic politics.

Protest Camps is now available at local booksellers and for online order  in the UK. To find out more on the broader Protest Camps Research Network visit protestcamps.org  and follow the project on twitter @protestcamps

 “Feigenbaum, Frenzel and McCurdy’s wonderful book brings a fresh perspective to our understanding of contemporary political action … A fine achievement.”

– Professor Nick Couldry, London School of Economics and Political Science

 “This book provides a captivating cartography that helps heal the chasm between how we live our everyday life and what our political ideas are, how we protest against the old world whilst proposing new ones.” 

 -John Jordan, co-founder of ‘Reclaim the Streets’ protest movement

To celebrate the launch of Protest Camps, the authors are participating in events across the UK and beyond:

October 19th – London Anarchist Bookfair, Queen Mary University of London
October 21stThe Organisation of the Organisationless – Talks in Digital Culture #1, King’s College London
October 26th – Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair 2013
October 29thNew Perspectives on Anarchism and Management, Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy at University of Leicester
October 30th –Protest Camps and Dissent PR Speaker Series at Bournemouth University
October 31st –Institute for Protest and Social Movement Studies at Technische Universitaet Berlin
November 2ndESRC Festival of Social Science event, Creating Worlds Together: A workshop on Experimentations and Protest Camps, Birkbeck, University of London
November 8th – tbc, Johannesburg, South Africa, Wits University
November 13th to 14thPSA Media and Politics Group Conference, Bournemouth Univeristy
November 20th to 21st – Leicester, Generations of Protest Conference, DeMontford University