Within the scope of this project, a discourse analyses on the topics of drug policy and drug consumption in social media will be carried out in an explorative way.
Within the scope of this project, the discourses in social media on the topics of drug policy and drug consumption will be researched in an explorative way. In a first step, the data from Twitter will be collected in order to get an overview of the topics and actors.
Traditional mass media have been considered as an important player setting the drug-policy agenda and constructing drug narratives often fuelling ‘moral panics’ (framing). While the popularity of social media (e.g. social networking sites, discussion forums, blogs, micro-blogging services) has exploded over the past years, there has been little inquiry into how these issues of ‘framing’ and ‘agenda setting’ apply under these new circumstances. The main objective of this study is to examine how and by whom (il)licit drugs are framed in social media and how social media may inform and galvanise policymakers to pay attention to this particular issue (agenda setting).
For the two research axes the following methodological approach applies: a qualitative research design, including:
1. A qualitative discourse analysis in order to investigate Twitter on data (i.e. tweets and retweets, photos, videos, hashtags, URLs, etc.) that aligned with issues of cannabis and prescription drugs.
2. In-depth interviews with Belgian drug policy-makers in order to understand the perceptions of policymakers as to the nature of and the extent to which social media may inform the policy agenda.