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Program

Beyond social media: How citizens influence foreign policy in democracies

Hosted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Monday, June 22 / Room A/B

From the Green Movement in Iran to the Arab Spring to the continuous struggle of Chinese dissidents, social media have gained a prominent place in foreign policy research, as they have considerably influenced world events. More recently, however, citizens have begun to influence the foreign policies of developed democracies, long regarded as a domaine reserve of governments, and with more traditional methods at that. The global Occupy Movement, anti-austerity protests in Greece and Spain, or indeed “anti-Islamisation” groups taking to the streets of Germany and elsewhere – all aim to impact at the nexus between domestic and foreign policy.

This workshop seeks to explore the role of the media in this new phenomenon. Where do citizens get their information on international affairs? Do traditional or mainstream media suffer from a type of blindness when it comes reporting on global events? Can citizens make sufficient use of existing media to express their political will? Or have the media lost their neutrality on certain issues and thus become part of the debate themselves, as shown in European discussions over the war in Ukraine and the conflict with Russia?

By addressing these questions, the workshop wants to enhance the understanding of the more direct forms of interaction between citizens and foreign policy and the consequences for both traditional and social media.

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