Populism and Polarisation

by Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent” – said Donald Trump after his electoral victory. Was he right? Has the rise of the internet and of social media really contributed to the renaissance of populism and to political polarisation?          It is widely held that media have little impact upon political views and voting behaviour, as such preferences are primarily shaped by personal experience and interpersonal communication. Further, the current consensus among academic researchers is that the ongoing polarisation of societies and the resulting renaissance of anti-elitist populism across the globe is a mirror of growing economic inequalities, rather than the direct impact of new, digital, media. Some of the most prominent scholars, however, think otherwise. Let us see why, using the example of the 2016 Trump campaign.          Andrew Chadwick describes the relationship between media and political systems in his academic bestseller on…

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Analogue meets Digital

by Peter Bajomi-Lazar, Budapest Business School I am 50 years old and struggling with digital technology on a daily basis. CooSpace, Zoom, Teams, and Modulo: these are just some of the new terms that the current COVID-19 pandemic has taught the people of my age working in higher educational institutions. The current task of swiftly switching to online teaching has been an unexpected and often painful challenge for many of us, as now we are supposed to transfer knowledge to students via a technology that they know much more about than we ever will. When I started working as a journalist in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I wrote my first articles on an old green transportable typewriter. Then I called my editor on the phone, and I faxed him the text. My students, born in the late 1990s, have been raised with smart phones in their hands, and have been mastering digital skills since their early years. The Children of the Digital Age do not learn to cope with digital technology; they live digital. Starting to…

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