Worlds apart? Solidarity concepts and political orientations in social media (SOPO)

Duration: 11/2018 - 01/2020
Status: ongoing
Research area: Labour market, working time and qualification, Sustainable worlds of work and life
Key project staff: Ulrike Papouschek, Annika Schönauer
Funded by: FWF - Der Wissenschaftsfonds
Cooperation: Universität Wien, Institut für Soziologie

The Citizen Science project ‘Worlds apart? Solidarity concepts and political orientations in social media’ (SOPO) is a complementary project to the FWF-project ‘Solidarity in times of crisis – Socio-economic change and political orientations in Austria and Hungary’ (SOCRIS). The societal cleavages in Austria and in the EU are steadily increasing. This has become particularly obvious in the debates about the arrival of large numbers of refugees in Europe. Social media are said to exacerbate these divisions: People perceive information on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. as objective, but it is actually highly filtered. This leads to the development of so-called ‘filter bubbles’. They are sometimes seen as a threat to democracy as people tend to cut themselves off from discussion and information which challenges their attitudes and beliefs. In the Citizen Science project SOPO people from different societal and political milieus analyze their own Facebook bubbles by guiding and analyzing discussions with their Facebook friends on selected political issues such as ‘Muslims’, ‘refugees’ or ‘the war in Syria’. Through this analysis different political orientations as well as the foundations and borders of different solidarity concepts come into research focus.