Social Media and Interactive Representation in the US Congress

10Nov_Social Media and Interactive Representation in US Congress

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Explore how the once-static relationships between US politicians and their constituents are changing

Ever sent a Snapchat to your Senator? Explore how the once static relationships between politicians and their constituents are changing as social media allows
Members of Congress and the electorate to communicate their beliefs and preferences.

Representative democracies are founded on a single legislator representing a group of citizens. Political science has accepted this traditional relationship as static, but the adoption of social media by Members of Congress has created new interactive representational opportunities as Members and constituents utilise Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to communicate.

The academic understanding of representation has been built on the concept of legislative members serving as either delegates or trustees. More recently, Jane Mansbridge (2003) posited that the nature of representation has changed and must now include other paradigms. However, her new models do not account for changes in technology. The advent and adoption of social media by Members of Congress has provided an opportunity to reevaluate representation and the potential for interactivity through online platforms.

Colleen Shogan and Jacob Straus examine the impact of social media on representation and develop a new theory – interactive representation – to explain the potential for real-time communication between Members of Congress and constituents. They use several case studies to illustrate the concept of interactive representation and explain why it has the potential to change democratic norms in substantial ways.

The talk will be followed by a complimentary drinks reception. 

Organised by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with the Library of Congress

Jacob R Straus is a specialist on Congress with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. He works on lobbying, ethics, commemorations (including monuments and memorials), congressional advisory commissions, and congressional communications. Prior to joining CRS, he was an assistant professor of political science at Frostburg State University (MD). His work has been published in Presidential Studies Quarterly ,Journal of Legislative Studies, PS: Political Science & Politics, Online Information Review, and edited Party and Procedure in the United States Congress (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012 and 2016). He received his BA from the University of Maryland and his MA and PhD from the University of Florida.

Colleen Shogan is the Deputy Director of National and International Outreach at the Library of Congress and an Adjunct Professor of Government at Georgetown. She was previously the Deputy Director at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. Prior to joining the Library, Colleen served as a policy staffer in the Senate. She came to Capitol Hill in 2005 through the American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellowship programme. Prior to working in Congress, Colleen was Assistant Professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University. She joined the George Mason faculty in 2002, after completing her PhD in Political Science at Yale University. At Yale, she was a Graduate Fellow with the National Science Foundation. Her first book, entitled The Moral Rhetoric of American Presidents, was published in September 2006 by Texas A&M University Press. She has also published research articles in Perspectives on Politics, Polity, PS, Studies in American Political Development, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Rhetoric & Public Affairs ,Women & Politics, White House Studies, Online Information Review, and Social Movement Studies. She was a Stennis Congressional Fellow for the 112th Congress. Colleen previously served as the President of the National Capitol Area Political Science Association (NCAPSA). She is currently an elected member of the APSA Council, the governing body of the organization. 


Name: Social Media and Interactive Representation in the US Congress
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Member: £8.00
Senior 60+: £6.00
Student: £5.00
Registered Unemployed: £5.00
Under 18: £5.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546