Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Discursive Fields and Intra-Party Influence in Colombian Politics
by Cornell, Devin J, M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2019, 63; 13900405
Abstract (Summary)

When are politicians influential in shifting party discourse? This study explores how same-party politicians influence one another, and how this influence leads to changes to a party's larger discourse. I suggest that the extent to which politicians are able to influence other party politicians depends on how their messages situate them within the party’s discursive field. I further suggest that certain messages are particularly influential when distinctive within a given time period. To assess this effect, I use a case study of just under 1 million Tweets from politicians in the Colombian political party Centro Democrático from 2015-2017. I use topic modeling and network analysis to measure influence within a dynamic discursive field, and a genetic learning algorithm to identify types of messages, as topics, which constitute the field under which we observe the strongest linkage between field position and influence. I find that politicians are influential when posting about current events and when creating symbolic distinctions which are central to the party ideology - in the case of Centro Democrático, distinctions between the concept of peace itself and the peace process developing in Colombia. These results suggest that the discursive field can be a powerful tool for analysis of influence and political discourse.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Charles, Maria, Mohr, John W
Commitee: Taylor, Verta
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociology
Keywords: Colombia, Computational text analysis, Culture, Networks, Politics, Topic modeling
Publication Number: 13900405
ISBN: 9781088313725
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