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Theorising Social Media, Politics and the State


The purpose of this chapter is to provide a basic framework for the analysis of social media, politics and the state. This topic—which the authors in this collected volume study—can be situated in the broader field of Internet and social media studies (see Dutton 2013, as well as the contributions in Ess and Dutton 2013 for an overview). Internet and social media research can be conducted in different ways. More administrative approaches analyse how digital media are used by whom, for what purpose, addressed to which audience, bearing which content, and having which effects. In contrast, critical Internet studies go beyond the digital version of the Lasswell formula. They do not exclude studying empirically the cornerstones of digital media use, but always situate such analyses in theorising and analysing larger contexts, such as power structures, the state, capitalism, gender relations, social struggles, and ideologies, which shape and are shaped by the digital media landscape in dialectical processes (Fuchs 2008, 2014d). This collected volume, in studying social media in the context of politics and the state, suggests the approach of critical Internet and social media studies (see also Fuchs and DyerWitheford 2013; Fuchs and Sandoval 2014).

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