New book

Interpreting Hashtag Politics is a new book by Dr Stephen Jeffares exploring how and why policy actors coin branded policy ideas and explores the challenges and opportunities of researching public policy in an era of social media and big data.

 Published 30 April 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan, available for pre-order

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Why do policy actors create branded terms like Big Society and does launching such policy ideas on Twitter extend or curtail their life? This book argues that the practice of hashtag politics has evolved in response to an increasingly congested and mediatised environment, with the recent and rapid growth of high speed internet connections, smart phones and social media. It examines how policy analysis can adapt to offer interpretive insights into the life and death of policy ideas in an era of hashtag politics.

This text reveals that policy ideas can at the same time be ideas, instruments, visions, containers and brands, and advises readers how to tell if a policy idea is dead or dying, how to map the diversity of viewpoints, how to capture the debate, when to engage and when to walk away. Each chapter showcases innovative analytic techniques, illustrated by application to contemporary policy ideas.


1. Policy Ideas and Hashtag Politics

2. Theorising Policy Ideas

3. The Lifecycle of Policy Ideas

4. Identifying Policy Viewpoints

5. Social Media and Policy Practices

6. Capturing the Digital Footprint of Policy Discussion

7. Interpreting Social Media Data

8. The Future of Hashtag Politics

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