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“Who do you think you are?”: Developing a methodology for socio-economic classification through social media 
 by examining the Twitter debates in the Austrian EU Election 2019.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies. (Gerin Trautenberger)
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Social media today is a dominant communication tool, which structures not only our social interactions but also filter the information users are getting displayed. The big social media platforms use our interaction data to analyse our behaviour and sell the data for commercial interest. But not only the pure interaction data is valuable for these platforms. Also hidden information, which can be derived from our interactive networks, about our social structures, social classifications and social status are gathered and monetised. This research attempts on the one hand to uncover some of these methods used by social media platforms, and on the other hand, also wants to show how useful these new methods can be for research on social phenomena. Therefore, this study goes beyond the confining limits of traditional sociology, where either qualitative or quantitative methods are applied. Following the idea of Critical Realism, the positivist and constructivist methods are applied in combination in order to provide thick accounts of the studied material. In this study, varying socioeconomic classification systems (like the Sinus-Milieu models) are investigated and evaluated against the background of Bourdieu’s ideas on cultural and social forms of capital. The present study uses a mixed method approach (Social Network Analysis and Sentiment Analysis) to analyse quantitative data from Twitter conversations which were collected during the Austrian EU Election 2019. In conclusion, one could say that the overall purpose of this study is to demonstrate the usefulness of Critical Realism for social media research, since this approach can create a thicker account of the studied material than other, more traditional methods. This undertaking is demonstrated by the findings of the study. These findings are the building of specific sub-clusters of EU candidates which are not related to the same political background and traditional demographics but whose relation can be detected and described using Bourdieu’s concepts of social and cultural capital. As a mean for gathering empirical data, Twitter turned out to be a useful and accessible tool for this study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 73
Keywords [en]
Critical Realism, Mixed Methods, Socioeconomic Classification Model, Class, Social media, Sinus-Milieu Model, Twitter Analysis, Social Network Analysis (SNA), Sentiment Analysis, Bourdieu, Social Capital, Cultural Capital
National Category
Cultural Studies Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-392200OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-392200DiVA, id: diva2:1347291
Subject / course
Digital Media
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Presentation
2019-05-21, F329, Economicum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10,, Uppsala, 20:18 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-09-02 Created: 2019-08-30 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved

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