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Nils Gustafsson

Kommande events VT 2017 (in Swedish)

25 januari - Boksläpp för Slutna rum och öppna landskap, baserad på den sydsvenska SOM-undersökningen 2015, där Jesper Falkheimer och Nils Gustafsson bidrar med kapitlet "Greater Copenhagen och mindre Öresund?" om skåningarnas attityd till Öresundssamarbetet. Tid: 14-16. Plats: Skånevåningen, Regionhuset, Dockplatsen 26, Malmö.

9 februari - Öppen föreläsning: Greater Copenhagen och mindre Öresund? Tid: 19.00. Plats: Norra Fäladens bibliotek, Lund.

9 mars - Öppen föreläsning: Greater Copenhagen och mindre Öresund? Tid: 19.00. Plats: Höganäs bibliotek, Höganäs.

25 april - Öppen föreläsning: Fighting online hate speech in India and Sweden: common causes, common remedies? The Digital Society Symposium, del av Lunds universitets 350-årsjubileum. Tid: 11.00. Plats: Stadshallen, Lund

28 april - Panel: Internet - demokrati och gemenskap eller isolering och näthat? Del av Lunds universitets 350-årsjubileum. Tid: 13-16. Plats: Palaestra et Odeum, Lund.



Together with political scientists Malena Rosén Sundström and Hanna Bäck and Emma Bäck of the Dept of Psychology, I was awarded a 5 MSEK research grant from the Marianne & Marcus Wallenberg Foundation for the project "Political participation among young people – from party democrats to social media activists?". During 2015-2018, the project will study the development of political participation among young people in Sweden. Hopefully, we will have a web site up with more information about the project.

Hanna Bäck, Emma Bäck and myself also wrote a research report for the Democracy Study of the Swedish government (2014 års Demokratiutredning). The report (in Swedish) is available here (pdf).

2013-2014 I was involved in the NEMO project (New Media, Modern Democracy) here at the Department of Strategic Communication, with a study on social media in the Swedish Riksdag. The project resulted in a book.

I defended my doctoral dissertation "Leetocracy: political participation, social network sites and inequality" on 3 May 2013. Faculty examiner was associate professor Eva Anduiza, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. Here is the online version of the thesis (excluding two unpublished texts): Leetocracy


This dissertation is about whether social network sites have the potential to bring about more equal participation. It deals with a phenomenon that has changed the underlying infrastructure of how millions of people communicate. It studies the way the use of social network sites affects communication within existing political organisations in addition to networked campaigns. And it goes beyond digital content analysis to use a broad range of methods in order to capture behaviour and attitudes offline as well as online in a contextual setting.

Social network sites have not brought about any greater equality in political participation. Using social network sites does not in itself lower the thresholds for participation, as increased accessibility does not outweigh the underlying factors of participation and political interest. Political participation is changing, but what is changing is not related to equality of participation. Instead, the existing system is put under pressure by what is referred to in this dissertation as viral politics and the emergence of temporal elites. Rather than resulting in egalitarian democracy, what we actually have is a leetocracy of sorts, where existing hierarchies are supplemented with new ones. This is shown in six distinct articles, each with its own empirical focus, and an introductory essay summarising the articles and presenting the core argument of the dissertation.

An additional goal of this dissertation is to show how the development of political participation in relation to social network sites can be better understood through the framework of competitive elitist democracy than through that of deliberative democratic theory. A methodological goal is to show how a combination of quantitative and several different qualitative methods applied on a set of different empirical cases can be used to yield a fuller illumination of the overarching research aim.

This dissertation is an ambitious attempt to study the effects of social network site use on several different forms of political participation. It contains the first representative study of political participation in social media in Sweden and the first study of intra-party use of social network sites in parliamentary parties in the world.

Teaching 2017

Supervision Master's thesis

SKOP33 Quantitative Methods, advanced level

SKOB34 Medier, makt och samhälle, grundnivå (kursansvar)

SKOP19 Philosophy of Social Science, advanced level (course director)

Some of my lecture visuals are available here.



Twitter: @nilsgustafsson


Hämtat ur Lunds universitets publikationsdatabas

Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation
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