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Digital Disconnect: Parties, Pollsters and Political Analysis in #GE2015

Digital data generated during election campaigns are a valuable – but underused – source of information for political parties, pollsters and political analysts alike. They contain signals of what political parties are doing, how they are being received, and what people are thinking and talking about. The OII’s Helen Margetts and Scott Hale discuss how use of digital tools and social media by the two largest parties both, in different ways, illustrate a disconnect between the tightly controlled party campaigns, and the electorate on social media. These differences could lend a clue to why the opinion polls throughout the UK’s GE2015 campaign got it so wrong, and provide signposts for parties seeking to rebuild their relatioship with their supporters after this surprising election.

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Finnish decision to allow same-sex marriage “shows the power of citizen initiatives”

In a pivotal vote today, the Finnish parliament has voted in favour of removing references to gender in the country’s marriage law, making it possible for same-sex couples to get married. OII Research fellow Vili Lehdonvirta argues that the decision it is also a milestone for another reason: it is the first piece of “crowdsourced” legislation on its way to becoming law in Finland. The Finnish citizen initiative system aims to make people feel that they can make a difference. This decision not only advances equality and fairness, it also helps define the role of crowdsourcing in Finnish parliamentary decision making.

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Past and Emerging Themes in Policy and Internet Studies

What kind of research does the journal Policy & Internet publish? Editor Vili Lehdonvirta approaches the question from two angles; first, by examining the question empirically, through a brief thematic analysis of the articles published since its launch in 2009; second, by considering what kind of research the journal is likely to publish in the future, both in terms of what kind of trends can be seen emerging in policy and Internet research, as well as in terms of what challenges outlined in the journal’s original vision that continue to be pertinent today. Read the full editorial.

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The complicated relationship between Chinese Internet users and their government

The Chinese government has been incredibly successful and sophisticated in the way it has established control over the Internet in China, both over web content and public discourses about the Internet’s function in Chinese society. David Herold (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) discusses the results of a research project into how students in Shanghai talk about the Internet, arguing that even when criticising government controls and censorship, they do not genuinely challenge the status quo, but accept it as unavoidable and without alternatives.

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The last 2010 issue of Policy and Internet has just been published! We are pleased to present seven articles, all of which focus on a substantive public policy issue arising from widespread use of the Internet: online political advocacy and petitioning, nationalism and borders online, unintended consequences of the introduction of file-sharing legislation, and the […]

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