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Seminar “Analysis of online participation”
Political activism in the age of social networks: the point of view of social macroscopes
A candidate has at least three levers at his disposal to win the votes of voters: convincing them of the relevance of his programme and ideas (positive campaigning), convincing them of the inadequacy or danger of their opponents' programmes and ideas (negative campaigning), and finally, making their name and that of their party familiar to the public. Taking the example of the French presidential election (2017), we study how politicians use social networks to activate these levers and how these actions are linked to those of their online activist communities on Twitter. We propose a set of quantitative measures at different scales to qualify the processes at work within political communities and show that communities have distinct ways of articulating with their leader's strategies, pointing to a heterogeneity in the forms of militant "division of labour". We also show that variations in community strategies can identify temporary weaknesses or loss of confidence in a leader as well as the structural position of candidates in the political arena. We also identify an anomaly in the attitude of all candidates towards Marine Le Pen.
David Chavalarias is a researcher at CNRS : Centre d’Analyse et de Mathématique Sociales (CAMS)
Article : David Chavalarias, Noé Gaumont, Maziyar Panahi (2019), Hostilité et prosélytisme des communautés politiques. Le militantisme politique à l’ère des réseaux sociaux, Réseaux 2014-215, pp 67-107.
The seminar aims to develop current reflections about the use of digital data in the analysis of online practices and forms of participation. With the explosion of online communication, a richer and greater amount of information has become available to researchers to document practices in a variety of domains: consumption, political behavior, production of knowledge, sociability, democratic participation, controversy, etc. Evidence of practices and of communication occurring in these domains are now available on various media: forum, discussions lists, blogs, online press, social networks, dedicated exchange platforms, etc. Over the last few years, the use of these data for research purposes has become widespread but there is still little debate on the compilation of corpora, the methods of analysis and the articulation between digital analyses and more classical fieldwork in social science.