A Digital Movement of Opinion? Contesting Austerity Through Social Media

Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


Social media opinions, although expressed by generally more active citizenry, are emerging as an increasingly legitimate and influential form of public opinion. As social media allow to overcome the problem of hidden preferences and can favour political mobilisation, these online opinions can also be linked with collective action. Accordingly, the present chapter examines the role of such digital voices as potential manifestations of ‘digital movements of opinion’. First, we employ a semi-automated content analysis technique to detect Eurosceptic attitudes on austerity in three European countries (France, Britain, and Italy). Second, we test the relationship between online scepticism and the propensity to broadcast online forms of anti-EU protests, rallies, and demonstrations. Our analysis highlights that anti-austerity protest seems to boost the online debate on austerity.


Social media Semi-automated content analysis Public opinion Eurosceptisism Collective action 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of social and political sciencesUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Department of social and political sciences, Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

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