Wednesday, 24 January 2018

New research project on gender and career networks!

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation) has awarded 5.7 MSEK to the project "Network and net worth. A longitudinal study of women's and men's social networks in Swedish business education and their effect on career outcomes". The research group consists of Gergei Farkas of Linnaeus University, Anna Tyllström of the Institute for Future Studies, and Nils Gustafsson. The project will start in 2018 and run for three years. A description of the project is available below.
Despite increased gender equality and a healthy representation of women among business graduates, few women reach the absolute top of the corporate world. Research in this area has highlighted women's and men's unequal access to essential social networks as an important cause of the underrepresentation of women. Women seem to have both inferior access to networks and less advantage of the networks they create. However, there is still a lack of precise answers to how such network differences arise, and how they evolve over time.
In this research project, we study how gender differences in career networks arise and develop among students in elite business education, as well as the significance of these differences for women s and men s early career development. The study will be conducted at the Stockholm School of Economics, where we follow two cohorts of master students from the time they start their education until they become established in the labour market. We combine a quantitative survey of students’ networks – through annual web-based surveys and social media analysis – with in-depth interview studies focusing on qualitative aspects of their networking. We then relate these insights to early career outcomes, such as job position and salary. The project aims to increase knowledge about how gender differences in business elites arise and are reproduced, and the effects thereof. The results are therefore of utmost relevance for both scientific and public debate.

Nils i DN om valrörelsen 2018

Jag är verkligen spektakulärt dålig på att uppdatera här, men jag har åtminstone alltid en ambition om att bli bättre!

Jag medverkade i DN på julafton 2017 i en artikel om valrörelsen 2018 och fick bland annat säga att vissa saker alltid sägs om en stundande valrörelse, t ex att det är ett extra viktigt val, samt att den riskerar att bli smutsig.

"Att tala om smutsiga kampanjer är att framställa motståndarens attacker som orättfärdiga. Det skapar ett intresse och kan mobilisera väljare."

Jag fick dessutom prata att redan valkampanjerna för 100 år sedan ansågs vara smutsiga samt att Sverigedemokraterna hittills har dragit störst nytta av sociala medier.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

ECPR 2017

I participated at the European Consortium for Political Research General Conference at the University of Oslo last week, presenting a pet project paper with my great friend Noomi Weinryb from Södertörn University College in the panel From Helping Hands to Molotov Cocktails – Understanding Citizens’ Miscellaneous Reactions to the Refugee Crisis.

This paper, The prevalence and durability of emotional enthusiasm: connective action and charismatic authority in the 2015 European refugee crisis, is basically a first attempt to make sense of a data set that has been generated from a large number of Facebook posts from groups and pages associated with coordinating volunteer work during the refugee crisis in 2015. What we do in this paper is that we are taking a look at how the use of a certain type of emotional language - emotional enthusiasm, we call it with a term borrowed from Paulo Gerbaudo - plays out in traditional civil society organisations as well as ad-hoc networks. We can see a clear boom-and-bust cycle in the Facebook activity of the ad-hoc or self-organising networks, where the activity is much higher in September than in October or November of 2015, whereas the level of activity in the civil society organisations is on a lower level but rather stable. But emotional enthusiasm remains as a proportionally important feature of Facebook posts in both organisational types.

At the conference we made contact with several other researchers who are working specifically with the refugee crisis in different ways, and we have several good ideas - not least because of good comments from our discussant Pascal König and the panel audience - how to take this forward.

Departing from previous research on digital action networks, this paper approaches the spread and emotional contagion of digital activism slightly differently, looking for it not necessarily inside the social movement itself, but rather outside it. By questioning the implicit assumption that the spread and emotional contagion of digital activism is contained only in the context of social movements, we explore emotional enthusiasm also in the social media engagement of other types of contemporaneous civil society organizations, viewing it as a manifestation of Weber’s concept of charismatic authority. Empirically, we study voluntary engagement and mobilization on Facebook in Sweden during the refugee crisis of the fall of 2015. In a mixed-method content analysis of 59 Facebook groups and pages, we trace the use of emotional markers in posts during the period September-November 2015. Our findings indicate that the prevalence of emotional enthusiasm outside of social movement, and the lack of durability of it both in organizations and in networks, points to the lack of stability that charismatic authority entails. As charismatic authority becomes institutionalized as a legitimate and predominant manner of organizing through social media, this may have large scale implications for societal organizing at large. The paper indicates that emotional enthusiasm in the form of charismatic authority not only provides democratic opportunities for protest and contention, but, given its emotional contagion, may also but democratic procedures and respect for bureaucratic structures at risk.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Nordmedia 2017

I participated in the Nordmedia 2017 conference last week with a paper titled "Online lurking and offline action: young people, social media, and (non-)participation." coming from the project "Political participation among young people – from party democrats to social media activists?" where I am cooperating with political scientists Hanna Bäck and Malena Rosén Sundström of Lund university and psychologist Emma Bäck of University of Gothenburg. The project is now in its third and last year and we are in the output phase, so to speak. I presented the paper in the Temporary Working Group Onlife: Digital Media Sociology in a Digital Cross-Platform World and got some excellent comments from Jacob Ørmen of the University of Copenhagen as well as from the audience. 

I also had the pleasure of chairing the Political Communication division together with Christina Neumayer of the IT University of Copenhagen, where we had a set of really great papers and discussions. Christina and myself are staying on as chairs over the next Nordmedia conference, which will be held in August 2019 at Malmö university, and we hope that we'll get as good proposals for that conference as we got for this one. 


Online lurking and offline action: young people, social media, and (non-)participation.

Research has described political participation as becoming ever more individualised (eg Bennett & Segerberg, 2013). This has been argued to be connected to the general individualisation of society, but also to affordances made possible by new media. One line of research explains political participation combining selective benefits (Olson, 1965), psychological factors (Klandermans & van Stekelburg, 2013) and social incentives (Cialdini, 2009). However, it is not clear how social media and its effects on information, discussion, and peer pressure influences the socialisation of young people and decisions to participate on a micro level.

This paper uses focus group interviews to uncover mechanisms underpinning (non-)participation in relation to social media use and social incentives. It is based on eight focus group interviews with 59 Swedish participants aged 16-25. The design includes four focus groups comprised by high school students; two groups with university students, one group with students in a post-secondary non-university education programme, and one group with people enrolled in a labour market initiative. The choice of method allows for young people to discuss things with peers in a safe setting, teasing out issues that would perhaps not come out in a one-on-one meeting with an adult researcher, or in a survey with pre-formulated questions. In contrast to digital methods, it also allows for the collection of information on cross-platform behaviour and lurking, as well as information on offline conversations. The focus group discussions evolve around the political content in social media, news, peer pressure, and (non-)participation). One focal point is news, discussions and (non-)participation in relation to the 2015 European refugee crisis, which saw a high level of mobilisation as well as news coverage and public discussion among the Swedish population.
The interviews are transcribed and analysed using micro-interlocutor analysis (Onwuegbuzie et al, 2009), thereby placing a higher focus on the dynamic aspects of the focus group interview than is usually done.

A preliminary analysis of the material reveals a complex situation regarding the interaction between social media use, peer pressure, offline discussions and participation. Participants have in general a negative view of young people as uninformed, volatile, and highly impressable. Political discussions in social media are generally avoided as they are deemed to be pointless and overly aggressive (cf. Gustafsson, 2012). Instead, political discussions are preferably held offline with close peers. News are to a very high degree consumed through social media (in complex interaction with the discussions framing topics and stories), and there is a large insecurity concerning what is fake news and what is proper journalisms and trustable facts. Active participation is heavily connected to personal influences by close friends.

Bennett, L. W. & Segerberg, A. (2013). The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence: Science and Practice, 5th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.
Gustafsson, Nils, 2012. The Subtle Nature of Facebook Politics. Swedish Social Media Users and Political Participation, New Media & Society, 14(2): 1111-1127.
Klandermans, B., & van Stekelenburg, J. (2013). ‘Social movements and the dynamics of collective action’ in Huddy, L. – Sears D. O. – Levy, J. S. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Olson, M. (1965). The Logic of Collective Action. Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Onwuegbuzie, A., Dickinson, W, Leech, N. & Zoran, A., 2009. A Qualitative Framework for Collecting and Analyzing Data in Focus Group Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8(3): 1-21.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Om sociala medier, demokrati och den tysta majoriteten

Den 28 april medverkade jag i det sista arrangemanget i den digitala vetenskapsveckan, med rubriken "Internet - demokrati och gemenskap eller isolering och näthat?" där jag presenterade några preliminära resultat från de fokusgruppintervjuer med sydvästskånska ungdomar som gjorts inom ramen för projektet "Political participation among young people – from party democrats to social media activists?" där jag medverkar tillsammans med Malena Rosén Sundström, Hanna Bäck och Emma Bäck. 

Intervjuerna kretsade huvudsakligen kring politiska diskussioner och engagemang, sociala medier och vänners betydelse. Min huvudsakliga poäng med föredraget var att visa på att de flesta ungdomar som använder sociala medier dels inte är intresserade av politik, och även om de är det så undviker de allra flesta att diskutera politik i sociala medier. Däremot tar alla del av det politiska innehåll som kommer upp i flödet på olika sätt (och som alltså produceras av en liten minoritet av användarna) och påverkas av den.

Här är mina slides:

Sociala medier, demokrati och den tysta majoriteten (presentation)

Thursday, 27 April 2017

On online hate speech in India and Sweden

This week is the "Digital Society Science Week" at Lund University. It's a part of the 350 year jubilee and presents a plethora of great research and other stuff.

During the two-day Digital Society Symposium that kicked off the week, with keynote speakers such as Lawrence Lessig and José van Dijck, I had the pleasure to introduce an ongoing project to compare online hate speech in India and Sweden together with fellow Lundians Maria Tonini (SASNET/Department of Gender studies) and Andreas Mattsson (Department of Communication and Media), as well as a number of Indian and international scholars. The talk and the ensuing panel discussion was recorded and live streamed and is also available below (my talk is at approx. 2 hrs 15 minutes in the clip if the direct link does not work) (and no, I am not a "docent" yet; don't know where that came from):

Lund University also produced a short clip with me listing three things we can do to promote respectful conversations online: