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Dr James Dennis

Senior Lecturer

James Dennis


James Dennis is Senior Lecturer in Political Communication and Journalism at the University of Portsmouth. His research interests lie in political communication, with a particular focus on social media, political participation and citizenship, and digital news. James' work has been published in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, and Political Studies. His first monograph, Beyond Slacktivism: Political Participation on Social Media, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. This builds on his PhD research, for which he was awarded the American Political Science Association Information Technology and Politics Section Best Dissertation Award. As of July 2018, James is a Co-Convenor of the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group.

James has experience of working with industry, carrying out social media research with the BBC World Service and the British Council. He has been a guest contributor for openDemocracy and the Political Studies Association blog and has discussed digital politics on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Solent, and Inter TV. James maintains a personal research site at and can be found on Twitter at @jameswilldennis.

James welcomes proposals from prospective PhD candidates interested in political communication, digital journalism and the changing news media environment, and social media and political participation.

Current PhD supervisions include:

  • Sarah Cheverton, How can Hyperlocal News be Analysed in the Context of Global "Fake News"? (third supervisor)
  • Amandine Hostein, The Role of the Internet in Enabling the Emergence of NGOs as Public Spheres (second supervisor)
  • Letshwiti Tutwane, Media Regulation in Democratic Africa: The Case of Botswana (second supervisor)

Research Interests

  • Political communication

  • Social media

  • Digital news

  • Political participation and citizenship

  • British politics

  • Social mobility and inequality

James is currently involved in the following research projects:

Beyond Slacktivism: Political Participation on Social Media

This project explores the relationship between social media and democratic citizenship in Britain, arguing that Facebook and Twitter create new opportunities for cognitive engagement, discursive participation, and political mobilisation. A monograph from this project was published in 2018 (Palgrave Macmillan).

Analysing BuzzFeed and VICE during #GE2017

This ongoing project examines how the 2017 UK general election was reported to younger audiences by BuzzFeed and VICE. This is a collaborative study with Dr Susana Sampaio-Dias (University of Portsmouth) and Milan Kreuschitz-Markovič (University of Portsmouth).

Transnational Civil Society

James is a member of the Faculty-funded Research Project: Transnational Civil Society. This new project seeks to understand the formation of transnational networks, their interaction with governments and international organisations, the effect of their activities on their organisational structure and working practices, and their impact on regional and global politics. James’ work will analyse how digital campaigning groups, such as 38 Degrees, GetUp! and MoveOn, operate at a regional and global level.

Citizenship, 'Race' and Belonging

James is a member of the Citizenship, ‘Race’ and Belonging (CRaB) research network. CRaB’s mission is to promote social justice and investigate structural inequalities through rigorous research, innovation, and public engagement. James' work focuses on the impact that digital technologies have on how citizens envisage their citizenship and then act upon it.

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