Taking forward a new agenda for online political deliberation – Dan Jackson, of the Centre for Politics and Media Research has published a study of everyday political talk in non-political, online ‘third spaces’ – the article, co-researched and co-authored with colleagues from Groningen and Melbourne, examines the dynamics of political talk across three general interest UK-based online forums.
The quantitative analysis found that discussions about austerity were just as likely to emerge from non-political discussions as were ones that began as ‘political’, demonstrating the links people made between everyday experiences and public policy. Their qualitative analysis represents the first real attempt to analyse political actions within third spaces, with some striking outcomes. Over half of all political discussions led to at least one political action (with significant variation between forums). The findings demonstrate that while such third spaces remain concerned with the preoccupations of everyday life, they can and do perform a role of mobilizing agent towards political participation.
This important work is part of ongoing work within the Centre in capturing how the digital environment facilitates citizens engaging with politics as part of their daily routines of interaction, so redefining what we might assume constitutes civic engagement and participation.