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Seminar: There is No Bad Publicity? - Disentangling Different Types of Parties’ Agenda Influence on the Migration Issue

Spring 2022 Seminars: 6th April

There is No Bad Publicity? - Disentangling Different Types of Parties’ Agenda Influence on the Migration Issue

Speaker: (opens in a new window)Sophia Hunger (WZB Berlin Social Science Center)

Wednesday, April 6, 14:00–14:45 (GMT)

If Covid-19 guidelines allow, all events take place at UCD and are also live-streamed on Zoom. Please register (opens in a new window)here to receive the link and password to the online meeting and information on the room at UCD.


Abstract: How parties are able to set the media agenda is a frequent topic of interest in political science research. In most of this research, emphasis has been on the extent to which specific topics are covered by the media. We argue this picture neglects that parties may have multiple ways to influence the agenda and – depending on their ideology and their inclusion in government – incentives to influence the agenda in certain ways differ. We draw on the case of the immigration issue, to distinguish three ways how parties’ issue-emphasis strategies may influence the media agenda: driving the salience of an issue, affecting how an issue is talked about (framing), and making it to the headlines. We use a combination of text-as-data methods in order to acquire fine-grained over time measures of party and media salience and framing of the immigration issue, which we combine with social media data. Our study focuses on the years 2013 to 2017 in Switzerland and Germany, a period of heightened attention which includes the so-called refugee crisis. Furthermore, our data structure allows for comparing ‘normal’ times with election campaigns, which we expect to differ in their interaction-logic. By showing diverse incentives and paths of agenda influence, our findings contribute to scholars’ understanding of party-media interactions as well as the role of challenger parties in modern democracies. Our work also speaks to the importance of studying parties’ immigration rhetoric in more detail.


About the speaker: Sophia Hunger is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Civil Society Research located at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Her research focuses on protest movements, political engagement, party competition, political communication, and applied quantitative methods, particularly machine learning and automated event extraction. In the WZB Protest Monitoring, a BMBF- and BMI-financed research project on political radicalization and protest in Germany, she is responsible for the construction of a database on protest events in Germany. Sophia Hunger obtained her doctorate at the European University Institute in 2020, where she was also involved in the ERC-POLCON project.