In times of identity politics, the media’s democratic function as forum for public discussion is challenged. When politics increasingly relates explicitly to groups like ethnicity or gender, effective public deliberation should include both dominant (e.g., white people, men) and marginalized (e.g., ethnic minorities, women) groups. However, marginalized groups are vastly mis- and underrepresented in political media. Improving inclusive deliberation is therefore a key challenge for contemporary democracies.
Research about group representation in political media leaves three important gaps. First, focusing on the quantity of group communication limits our theoretical understanding of how dominant and marginalized groups communicate – i.e., their use of arguments, appeals to emotion, and displays of emotion. Second, there is a lack of research into (audiovisual communication – the primary mode through which citizens are exposed to public deliberation. Thirdly, difficulties in measuring emotion in (the processing of) dominant and marginalized group communication left it particularly understudied. I fill these gaps by studying the content, journalistic construction and effects of communication by dominant and marginalized groups in Dutch talk shows.
Bridging insights from communication science, political science and social psychology, Boyer applies a multi-method approach. He combines ground-breaking automated emotion detection in audiovisual content, novel qualitative in-depth interviews with talk show programmers and panelists, and innovative unobtrusive physiological measures of emotion. “By mapping group communication in Dutch talk shows based on gender and ethnicity, I reassess the media’s functioning as public forum. In-depth interviews with talk show programmers and panelists produce key knowledge on (improving) journalistic construction of inclusive public deliberation.” Lastly, a physiological experiment on the effects of group communication on the public offers crucial insight into possible biases against marginalized groups and ways to surpass them. This project thus offers theoretical and empirical understanding of contemporary public deliberation, as well as opportunities for solutions.
NWO Talent Programme
The NWO Talent Programme gives researchers the freedom to pursue their own research based on creativity and passion. They receive up to EUR 280,000. The programme encourages innovation and curiosity. Curiosity-driven research contributes to and prepares us for tomorrow's society. That is why NWO focuses on a diversity in terms of researchers, domains, and backgrounds. Together with the Vidi and Vici grants, Veni is part of the Talent Programme.
NWO selects researchers based on the academic quality and the innovative character of the research proposal, the scientific and/or societal impact of the proposed project, and the quality of the researcher.