I am a PhD candidate at Federal Fluminense University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My research has been directed towards the political communication practices on social media, focusing on the user-generated content and the media ecosystem. My master’s dissertation investigates the rise of the anti-left network on Facebook during the past 2014 presidential election. I have discussed themes such as: the relationship between political elites and grassroots movements, the dissemination of highly partisan content, the historical transformation of the Partido dos Trabalhadores and the roots of the rightist discourse.
I am currently at the second year of PhD. At this point I am struggling to define my research object as well as its theoretical approaches. The objective so far is to comprehend and analyze the behavior of two quite different set of agents on social media during the period of Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment.
The first is the institutional networks comprising the official fan-pages of all 513 federal deputies; and the 35 political parties. And the second is what I temporally call of political fandom network. This major group attains a diverse ecosystem of non-institutional and ideological biased actors both from the left and right ideological spectrum. It includes partisan communication channels, bloggers, militants, fake news websites, opinion leaders and so on.
I hope to thoroughly comprehend how the political fan-page Facebook sphere shaped the discussion regarding the ouster of former president Dilma Rousseff. My intention is to devise a methodological procedure for mapping the following relations between the fan-pages, identify clusters with particular frames and political identities and analyze the antagonistic discourse posted in that stormy time of Brazilian politics.
In order to do so, I have been studying the specialized literature dedicated to the digital methods and the “computational turn of social sciences”. I intend to develop a multi-method approach that combines data science techniques and qualitative perspectives drawing on interpretive hermeneutics. The first step of the research design is to assemble a list of relevant non-institutional political fan pages on Facebook by the snowballing technique.
I intend to further filter and categorize the actors and apply statistics from social network analysis to investigate the structural aspects of this network. The next step should be the quantitative content analysis of a representative publication sample. Finally, I hope to ground the interpretation of the most significant results in the fields of hermeneutics to explain the diverse political discourse about the impeachment on Facebook.
Purposes of this blog
My main purpose with this blog is to report the process of research conducted for writing my PhD thesis. Particularlt, I intend to socially and publicize all the research material and datasets used in my research and publications both in conference annals and peer-reviewed journals. This blog was done to be a space of debate and brainstorm to test theoretical arguments, as well as methodological approaches and data science techniques. I am a beginner in several skills I plan to discuss in this blog. Recently I am focusing my studies more systematically on digital methods. Some of the techniques I hope to develop are:
Finally, some of the essential motives that drive me to write this blog are practicing and exercising academic writing in English and academic reporting of results. I am fully aware how fundamental languages skills are for communicate the research with the international community. In spite of had taken a semester abroad in United States of America during my bachelor degree in Journalism, I haven’t had the opportunity to keep writing in English. So I apologize in advance for any mistakes I might commit. Therefore, this blog is meant to improve academic reporting in order to achieve more fluent and proficient communication skills.
PhD candidate at @uff_br - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Investigating #politicalcommunication on #socialmedia with #datascience and #digitalmethods
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Blogs to follow
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Weiai Wayne Xu