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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Faculty Projects

Race and Nation in Debates over Romanian and Bulgarian Migration to the UK

Bindi Shah, Social Sciences and Justin Murphy, Politics and International Relations

This project explores the digital social media networks of pro-and anti-immigration discourse following the lifting of restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migration to the UK on January 1st 2014. The research has begun with Twitter, seeking to trace the emergent actors and conversations and examine how software processes and logics make specific content and positions on immigration more or less visible.


TweetPop: Using Twitter data for population estimates

Jen Holland and Agnese Vitali, Demography and Social Statistics

This project aims to explore if and how social media data might be used to gain insights from a population perspective. We know already that SNS display distinctive demographic patterns –the question is if and how we can apply appropriate weights to adjust for this. Here we combine information on active Twitter users, enrichment data on user demographics and data from the 2011 Census of England and Wales to assess the representativeness of Twitter and develop weights which might allow us to extrapolate research findings to the broader population.


Obesity and Health Information Diffusion in Large Networks

Antonella Ianni and Emmanouil Mentzakis, Economics

This project builds on recent suggestions regarding the spread of obesity through social networks and considers if and how health interventions might be targeted online. The research aims to develop methods for tracing the spread of obesity related information on Twitter and to map networks over time, testing for clustering and peer effects. Potential policy simulation experiments will be implemented to test the potential responsiveness of these networks to social media health care interventions.


The role of SNSs e-Discourse in the emergence, stabilization and translation of religious ethnic minority polities: Twitter and Facebook as platforms for the Sikh EDL

Jeff Vass, Social Sciences

This project explores the emergent public accommodation of religious minorities inside larger and well established political movements – in this case the Sikh Division of the English Defence League – focussing on the role of Social Networking Sites in facilitating the formation of groups and discourses, and the wider public response to this development. To do this the project develops a novel methodological approach mapping networks and discourses across different SNS.


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