Citizens and Democracy

The theme focuses on the role digital technologies play in the political lives of citizens, and particularly how social media and AI-based tools are reshaping our interactions with, and perceptions of, the democratic state, its institutions and key functions.

Rachel Gibson

Theme lead

Professor Rachel Gibson


Scope of Theme

While the internet, and particularly social media, have been seen as forces for the ‘good’ in terms of encouraging citizen engagement and a more responsive government, they have also provoked increasing concern as sources of new and more disturbing phenomena such as fake news, filter bubbles, and third party interference in the democratic process.

Given the current talk of a crisis of democracy and declining popular trust in politicians, the question of how far digital technology is helping to fuel these trends, or can be harnessed to counter the threat of anti-democratic forces and build a more resilient polity is very timely. The Citizens and Democracy theme brings together research expertise at Manchester that addresses these pressing concerns.

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