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From code to discourse: Social media and linkage mechanisms in the deliberative system

Ben Lyons, University of Pennsylvania

Tue 11 October 2016

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


Some researchers have critiqued the evaluation of online deliberation by Habermasian standards, instead employing expanded definitions. Implicitly, this approach is informed by a systemic view of deliberation: Not every discussion space needs to meet every criterion, but the spaces must be connected. However, these studies do not examine how forums might connect. And although deliberative theorists have begun highlighting the importance of such connections, they have been criticized for lacking specificity (Parkinson, 2016). To address these gaps, this presentation will focus on the core concept of linkage, with emphasis on mediated links. The potential for social media to serve as a ‘macro’ link between spheres is explored before concentrating on observable connections within and among deliberative exchanges on these platforms. I present an overview of digital media objects’ differing means of connection – from technical to discursive – and their capacities for deliberative virtues.

About the speaker

Ben Lyons is the Martin Fishbein Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, where he works in the Science of Science Communication division. He researches political communication and public opinion, especially at their intersections with science, health, and the environment. His work has been published in outlets such as Mass Communication & Society, Environmental Communication, and Journal of Political Marketing.

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