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The Brexit Referendum on Twitter: A Mixed-Method Computational Analysis

Jingrong Tong
University of Sheffield, UK

Landong Zuo
Solution Architect in Bedford, UK


Product Details
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781800432956
Published:
15 Feb 2021
Publisher:
Emerald Publishing Limited
Dimensions:
112 pages - 152 x 229mm
Series:
Emerald Points
This book explores Twitter communication about the 2016 Brexit referendum in the UK in the run-up to the event. The mixed-method, computational analysis of over twelve million tweets reveals how Twitter worked in shaping political discourse and its potential for fuelling populism in the month leading to the referendum. Our findings show while polarised public opinion was explicitly expressed, populist sentiments were mainstreamed into the debate about the referendum and widely spread on Twitter. Populist politicians, supported by pro-Brexit users, tactically used Twitter to promulgate their populist ideas. In contrast, despite their active use of Twitter, the Remain camp appeared to have misunderstood the mechanisms of Twitter for shaping political discourse. Twitter communication, in this case, showed dangerous potential for reflecting and reinforcing existing social tensions and divisions, being influenced or even manipulated by individuals and interest groups to serve their own interests. It is important to be well aware of this capacity of Twitter for the wellbeing of democracy, especially in the politically turbulent times since 2016 when the UK voted to leave the EU.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Social Representations of The EU Referendum on Twitter
Chapter 3. Legitimising Political Controversy and Populism
Chapter 4. The Construction of “hero” versus “villain” in Twitter Users’ Responses to @David_Cameron and @Nigel_Farage
Chapter 5. Shaping Political Discourse: is Twitter Good for Democracy?
Jingrong Tong is Senior Lecturer in Digital News Cultures at the University of Sheffield.

Landong Zuo is an IT Consultant, and Data Scientist specialized in data mining, data analysis and Nature Language Processing.

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