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Social Understandings of Scale: The Role of Print and Social Media in the EU Referendum Debate

Principal Investigator: Dr Juan Miguel Kanai, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield
Co-Applicants: Jacqueline Harrison, Joint Head of Department of Journalism Studies, University of Sheffield; Professor Dimitris Ballas, Professor of Economic Geography, University of Groningen; Dr Diana Maynard, Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Based on a study of newspaper stories, readers’ attitudes and Twitter activity during the EU Referendum of 2016, this project addresses the roles that print and social media play in shaping social understandings of multi-level governance and the politics of scale, with a particular emphasis on what voters know and understand of how membership in supra-national units shapes the prosperity of local areas. This project brings together expertise in regional political economy and the politics of scale; journalism and media studies; and computational linguistics and web semantics. Project results should be of relevance for the UK’s international challenge of managing its evolving relation with the EU and more generally any country where the domestic population may face important collective decisions regarding shifts in regulatory scales in the context of deepening and increasingly contested globalization. The project will be carried out with European collaborators as Euroscepticism was not limited to Brexit.

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