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Professor Helen Margetts, Professor Peter John, Dr Scott Hale, and Dr Taha Yasseri have won the W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Prize at the Political Studies Association (PSA)’s Annual Awards in Westminster on 5 December 2017.

Oii mackenzie prize
Photo credit: Oxford Internet Institute

The Division would like to congratulate a team of researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute who have been awarded the 2017 Political Studies Association book prize.

Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action  investigates political mobilization in a digital world. As people go about their daily lives using social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, they are invited to support myriad political causes by sharing, liking, endorsing, viewing and following. Chain reactions caused by these tiny acts of participation form a growing part of collective action today, from neighbourhood campaigns to global political movements. Political Turbulence shows how most attempts at collective action online fail. Those that succeed can do so dramatically, but are unpredictable, unstable, and often unsustainable. The book demonstrates how data science and experimentation with social data can provide a methodological toolkit for understanding, shaping, and perhaps even predicting the outcomes of this democratic turbulence.

The book was the unanimous winner for the jury, with the rationale: “Political Turbulence is a methodologically innovative book with real world resonance and reach. It brings computational social science to bear on pressing political questions about the impact of social media on patterns of democratic participation. It does so with rigour, originality and measured judgement. It provides powerful new insights about democracy in our turbulent times.”

The researchers behind the award-winning book are:

Helen Margetts is Professor of Society and the Internet, Fellow of Mansfield College, Associate Member of the Department of Politics and International Relations, and Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, all at the University of Oxford, and Turing Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.

Peter John is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at University College London. From January, he will be Professor of Public Policy at the Department of Political Economy at the King’s College London.

Dr Scott Hale is Senior Data Scientist and Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford and Turing Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.

Dr Taha Yasseri is Senior Research Fellow in Computational Social Science at the Oxford Internet Institute and Research Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford and Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute.

Many congratulations to the team for this fantastic recognition!

It is the second consecutive year that the prize has been won by Oxford Social Scientists -  in 2016, the prize was won by Professor Christopher Hood (All Souls College) and Dr Ruth Dixon (Blavatnik School of Government/Department of Politics and International Relations).