Between Fragmentation and Dialogue. Twitter Communities and Political Debate About the Swiss "Nuclear Withdrawal Initiative"

Arlt, Dorothee; Rauchfleisch, Adrian; Schäfer, Mike S. (2018). Between Fragmentation and Dialogue. Twitter Communities and Political Debate About the Swiss "Nuclear Withdrawal Initiative". Environmental communication, 13(4), pp. 440-456. Taylor and Francis Group 10.1080/17524032.2018.1430600

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As social media sites have become significant arenas for political debate in recent years, this paper investigates the political debate that took place on Twitter in the wake of the Swiss referendum on the Nuclear Withdrawal Initiative, which was conducted in November 2016. Using Twitter data of 3000 users, we could identify 7 distinct communities that varied in terms of their size, position, and contribution to the debate. The most dominant communities in the debate were the Conservative Mainstream and the Green-Left communities. Moreover, our findings show that communities supporting and opposing the initiative differ with regard to the wording they use in their tweets. Finally, our results reveal an active exchange both within and, even more importantly, between the communities, which indicates a rather pluralistic and internally connected debate. Thus, our findings clearly contrast with those of prior studies concerning political debates on social media that identified pronounced echo chambers.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Communication and Media Studies (ICMB)

UniBE Contributor:

Arlt, Dorothee

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1752-4032

Publisher:

Taylor and Francis Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lena Floriana Studer

Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2018 09:04

Last Modified:

01 Apr 2021 08:16

Publisher DOI:

10.1080/17524032.2018.1430600

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.120342

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/120342

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