Centre for Politics and Media Research

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The work of the Centre for Politics and Media Research links into a range of fields of study that focus on the most relevant questions that face 21st Century politicians, their strategists, political journalists and agencies which seek to enhance citizen engagement.

Our Research

One strand of BU’s Centre for Politics and Media Research’s work focuses upon the soft power exerted through political campaign communication by parties, government pressure and protest groups. This work encompasses all contexts of campaign communication from lobbying behind closed doors to the public spectacle of elections. This work also links to work on media as a means of dissemination, contestation and influence.

The study of campaign communication links to a second strand of research around the impact of political communication upon society and the citizen. This work explores theoretical and empirical questions regarding the nature of citizenship, social capital, political engagement and participation; and the consumption of politics. Much of this work is social theory located, drawing on psycho-social theory or psephological studies and dealing with matters of gender and racial equality, social inclusion, empowerment, enfranchisement and representation.

A further strand focuses on the social, legislative and institutional governance which provides the framework for political communication and its mediation. The social framework approach deals with matters of ideology, social norms and the collective psychology of societies and publics. Legislative and institutional frameworks deal with the regulation of communication, regulation of the media and of the social and para-social communication facilitated through the latest digital technologies.

A Global View of Modern Politics

The group’s researchers and their colleagues in universities across the EU, and partners in the US, South Americas, Australia, New Zealand, India and Thailand, have exerted influence over various aspects of public communication. Their work has been referenced in official reports as well as advisory and policy work that has shaped the communication of governments.

Members have also acted as consultants to political parties, media organisations, political pressure and lobby groups and legislative bodies. Counselling and advising around issues relating to the reporting of politics and conflicts has also been a priority for group members and this has led to the setting up of a centre dedicated to supporting reporters exposed to traumatic situations.

Given the scope of our research the group is heavily involved in collaborations with universities and academics across the globe with research exploring political communication within a range of  contexts. From the protests of Dibden Bay residents to the spectacle of protest camps, and from the social politics of the Brazilian favelas to the high spend, high sophistication of a US Presidential  election: the group’s research covers the wide range of forms and styles of political communication and its impacts upon a range of societies, polities and democratic traditions.

Similarly, our research has explored the communicational traditions and their regulatory frameworks within a range of nations, and the impact upon institutions such as the UK House of Lords, the  European Parliament, extremist political groups, Wikileaks and the ordinary citizen using social media to interact about politics.

This cutting-edge research on the important and relevant issues and questions of our time is mirrored in the work of our postgraduate community. There is significant research being undertaken on emerging democracies with current and recent works exploring issues of democratic engagement and the appropriateness and effectiveness of democratic institutions in Thailand, Ghana and Indonesia, and the reasons for the recent failure of both in Egypt. Current work also focuses on the social relations and issues of gender equality within representative institutions, the intractability of the Israel-Palestine conflict, how the British military communicate with their public, Egyptian and British media framing of Islam, the development of terrorism in Africa, and public opinion in Kazakhstan.

Our research also supports a dynamic undergraduate community, with a highly active Politics Society, and a Masters’ programme in International Political Communication linking students up with colleagues in the US and EU, giving them experience within a wide range of professional environments. An MA in Political Psychology is also being launched in 2017.

Dr Darren Lilleker outside Westminster.

Dr Darren Lilleker outside Westminster.

Recent Publications in the Centre

Feigenbaum, A. and McCurdy, P., 2015. Protest camps as media stages: A case study of activist media practices across three British social movements. Beyond the Internet: Unplugging the Protest Movement Wave. 31-52.

McCurdy, P., Feigenbaum, A. and Frenzel, F., 2016. Protest Camps and Repertoires of Contention. Social Movement Studies, 15 (1), 97-104.

Feigenbaum, A. and Kanngieser, A., 2015. For a politics of atmospheric governance. Dialogues in Human Geography, 5 (1), 80-84.

Feigenbaum, A., 2015. From cyborg feminism to drone feminism: Remembering women’s anti-nuclear activisms. Feminist Theory, 16 (3), 265-288.

Feigenbaum, A. and Iqani, M., 2015. Quality after the cuts? Higher education practitioners’ accounts of systemic challenges to teaching quality in times of ‘austerity’. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39 (1), 46-66.

Gerodimos, R., 2015 The Politics of Extreme Austerity: Greece in the Eurozone Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan.

Gerodimos, R. and Justinussen, J., 2015. Obama’s 2012 Facebook Campaign: Political Communication in the Age of the Like Button. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 12 (2), 113-132.

Gerodimos, R., 2015. The Ideology of Far Left Populism in Greece: Blame, Victimhood and Revenge in the Discourse of Greek Anarchists. Political Studies, 63 (3), 608-625.

Graham, T., Jackson, D. and Wright, S., 2015. From everyday conversation to political action: Talking austerity in online ‘third spaces’. European Journal of Communication, 30 (6), 648-665.

Graham, T., Jackson, D. and Wright, S., 2015. ‘We need to get together and make ourselves heard’: everyday online spaces as incubators of political action. Information, Communication & Society.

Lilleker, D., Koc-Michalska, K. and Jackson, N., 2015. Social media in the UK election campaigns 2008-14: experimentation, innovation and convergence. In: Bruns, A., Enli, G., Larsson, A.O. and Christensen, C., eds. The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics. Routledge, 325-337.

Lilleker, D.G., Tenscher, J. and Štětka, V., 2015. Towards hypermedia campaigning? Perceptions of new media’s importance for campaigning by party strategists in comparative perspective. Information Communication and Society, 18 (7), 747-765.

Lilleker, D. G., 2014. Political Communication and Cognition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

O’neill, D., Savigny, H. and Cann, V., 2016. Women politicians in the UK press: Not seen and not heard? Feminist Media Studies, 16 (2), 293-307.

Richards, B., 2015. The voices of extremist violence: what can we hear? In: Thorsen, E., Jackson, D., Savigny, H. and Alexander, J., eds. Media, Margins and Civic Agency. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 62-74.

Richards, B., 2016. Review of Papacharissi, ‘Affective Publics. Sentiment, Technology and Politics’. International Journal of Press-Politics, 21 (1), 137-139.

Pham, H.C. and Richards, B., 2015. The western brands in the minds of vietnamese consumers. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 32 (5), 367-375

Richards, B. and Brown, L. (2017) Evidence and ideology: moderating the critique of media Islamophobia. Journalism Education 6(1), 12-22.

Surowiec, P., 2016. Nation branding, public relations and soft power: corporatising Poland. Routledge

Surowiec, P. and Štětka, V., 2017. Social media and politics in Central and Eastern Europe. London: Routledge.

Thorsen, E., Jackson, D. and Luce, A., 2015. Citizen journalism and civic inclusion: Access Dorset. In: Gordon, E. and Mihalidis, P., eds. Civic Media Reader. MIT Press.

Thorsen, E., Savigny, H., Alexander, J. and Jackson, D., 2015. Media, margins and popular culture.

Veneti, A., 2016. Political Selfies: Image Events in the New Media Field. The Digital Transformation of the Public Sphere: Conflict, Migration, Crisis, and Culture in Digital Networks. Palgrave McMillan.

Veneti, A., 2016. Media Ecology and the Politics of Dissent: Representations of the Hong Kong Protests in the Guardian and China Daily. Social Media + Society.

Veneti, A. and Poulakidakos, S., 2015. Political Communication and Tweeter in Greece: Jumps on the bandwagon or an enhancement of the political dialogue? In: Deželan, T. and Vobic, I., eds.(R)evolutionizing Political Communication through Social Media. USA: IGI Global.

Study at BU

Two-day workshop: Politics in a post-truth era 10th – 11th July 2017, Bournemouth University
The concept of post-truth, where facts are deemed less important than beliefs, is one that has recently been frequently invoked when making sense of the modern political campaigning environment. The suggestion is that political campaigns exploit and reinforce strongly held beliefs, encouraging the disavowal of contrasting facts, in order to undermine support for the arguments of opponents.Post-truth has become most associated with campaigns that invoke more populist arguments. Such arguments give voice to privately held beliefs, often hidden by norms of societies which reinforce pejorative stereotypes based on religious and racial differences, gendering of roles and discussing myths of us (as a nation and people) and the others whose differences mark them as not us. Hence there are far-reaching implications of such practices for democratic societies.The workshop will explore the underlying themes and implications of this phenomenon.KEY QUESTIONS1) Is post truth really new, or simply a synonym for the exaggerations and spin long associated with the techniques of political campaigns? Or have political campaigns been proven to lie more?2) What does a post-truth campaign look like, how is the communication constructed to tap into belief systems and feed the dynamics of a post-truth (belief-based) political environment?

3) Why might beliefs have more power in influencing voting behaviour than more fact, logic or reason based arguments?

4) How does post-truth link to the models of a marketised and professionalised campaign environment?

5) What does post-truth tell us about the current and future state of democratic engagement and of democracy itself?


Contributions need not be full papers, rather informed arguments that promote discussion – although they should have the potential to be full or part papers. The workshop seeks to tease out what post-truth means, how this is encouraged during political campaigns, its root causes, impacts on election outcomes and, importantly, what are the implications for democracy.


The longer-term aim is to develop an edited collection of work that would include solo-authored or joint publications from participants that address these questions. The volume will be published in the Palgrave series Political Campaigning and Communication.


The event will be held on July 10th and 11th with a workshop dinner on the evening of the 10th. There will be no attendance costs – the venue, refreshments and evening meal will be covered jointly by funding from the Centre for Politics and Media Research and the PSA Political Marketing Group.  Participants should expect to cover travel and accommodation. The venue will be the Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre close to Bournemouth train station.


Interested participants should propose their participation by offering a short 200-300 word abstract that summarises the main points of the argument, case studies and evidence drawn upon and the broader socio-political implications into which their argument offers insights. The deadline for abstracts is 1600hrs GMT on Friday 6th April 2017. Please email them to dlilleker@bournemouth.ac.uk


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