For the many (but especially for you): The personal, participatory narratives of videos supporting the UK Labour Party’s 2017 election campaign
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 15:01 by Rachel West
There is a growing body of research on the interplay between increasingly digitally informed political campaigning and citizen engagement in the political sphere both on and offline. While much of the existing scholarship concerns how digital technology impacts engagement, participation and the spread of information, there is limited research into the ways in which specific digital content modes and social media platforms intersect in ways that can lead to increased involvement of individuals in high-effort political activities. This research paper focuses on the personal action framing of campaign videos created in support of the Labour Party’s general election campaign in 2017. Videos created by both the central campaign and the grassroots political organization Momentum were designed to be shared widely over social media platforms to achieve visibility over a broad network of supporters and undecided voters over the course of the campaign. By analyzing the content of these videos, I will show how specific instances of digital media, such as videos, can invite instances of high-effort political participation through personalized political action framing. Drawing on connective action theory, and in particular, the discussion of personalized politics (Bennett, 2012; Bennett & Segerberg, 2013), this research uses thematic content analysis to identify which high-effort political activities are alluded to most often in the video content. By comparing the videos produced by Labour with those of Momentum, this contribution addresses a gap in the existing literature as it relates to how campaigns can benefit from loosely connected ties to organizations that use digital media to expend their networks of influence to develop their strategic capacity. The methods explored in this research can inform future study on the use of campaign videos in political movement building and election campaigns.