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Does Protest Influence Political Speech? Evidence from UK Climate Protest, 2017-2019

Barrie, C; Fleming, TG; Rowan, SS; (2023) Does Protest Influence Political Speech? Evidence from UK Climate Protest, 2017-2019. British Journal of Political Science pp. 1-18. 10.1017/S0007123423000376. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

How does protest affect political speech? Protest is an important form of political claim-making, yet our understanding of its influence on how individual legislators communicate remains limited. Our paper thus extends a theoretical framework on protests as information about voter preferences, and evaluates it using crowd-sourced protest data from the 2017-2019 Fridays for Future protests in the UK. We combine these data with ∼2.4m tweets from 553 legislators over this period and text data from ∼150k parliamentary speech records. We find that local protests prompted MPs to speak more about the climate, but only online. These results demonstrate that protest can shape the timing and substance of political communication by individual elected representatives. They also highlight an important difference between legislators' offline and online speech, suggesting that more work is needed to understand how political strategies differ across these arenas.

Type: Article
Title: Does Protest Influence Political Speech? Evidence from UK Climate Protest, 2017-2019
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0007123423000376
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123423000376
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: representation, political communication, protest, climate change, Twitter
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10177036
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