Polarisation is not a new concept in sociology, but the digital media’s role in enabling and fomenting hyperpartisan politics may be more complex than previously thought. According to Professor Axel Bruns, the dynamics of polarised political debate could threaten the very fabric of our society.
Axel Bruns is a Professor at the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT, and a Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. His impressive work on the subject of online media has fortified his position as a leading voice in the field. Testament to this is Prof. Bruns’ recent Australian Laureate Fellowship – a unique honour.
Only 17 Fellowships are awarded each year and Prof. Bruns is the only person in the discipline of Media and Communication ever to receive one. It provides world-class researchers with considerable project funding, allowing them access to advanced resources to make ground-breaking discoveries.
Prof. Bruns plans to use his Fellowship to investigate the activities and motivations of hyperpartisans, and digital and social media play in enabling them. It’s a project that holds urgency as now, in an age of extreme politics and a raging pandemic, polarisation endangers the cohesion of society when we need it most.
In anticipation of his upcoming Real World presentation exploring these issues, I sat down with Prof. Bruns to shed some light on his research.
Prof. Bruns presents at the next Real World Futures event
At the upcoming Real World Futures event Societies on the Brink: Understanding the Dynamics of Partisanship and Polarisation ARC Laureate Fellow Prof. Axel Bruns, explores the drivers of polarisation, and examines the role that digital and social media play and broader social and political contexts play in intensifying social conflicts, threatening economic prosperity, undermining public trust, and ultimately destabilising societies.
This free event is available online and in-person, however, registration is essential.