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Understanding Brexit on Facebook: developing close-up, qualitative methodologies for social media research

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journal contribution
posted on 11.11.2021, 16:08 by Natalie-Anne HallNatalie-Anne Hall
Facebook has frequently been implicated in the 2016 ‘Brexit’ referendum result, and support for Leave has been linked to wider nativist and populist mobilisations online. However, close-up, qualitative sociological research has not been conducted into the relationship between Brexit and social media use. This is, in part, due to the computational turn in online research, which has led to a disproportionate focus on quantitative big data analysis. This article argues for the value of close-up, qualitative enquiry to facilitate situated understandings of the reality of social media use and what it means to individuals. It outlines one such methodology developed to investigate pro-Leave Facebook users, to demonstrate how challenges posed by such research can be overcome, and the opportunities such enquiry affords for studying the role of social media in contentious politics. Invaluable insights gained include the way Facebook provides an empowering tool for making claims to political knowledge in the context of growing transnational nativist and populist grievances.

Funding

Doctoral studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Sociological Research Online

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by SAGE Publications under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

16/07/2021

Publication date

2021-10-25

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

1360-7804

eISSN

1360-7804

Language

en

Depositor

Miss Natalie-Anne Hall. Deposit date: 11 November 2021