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Politics @Pontifex: International Crises and Political Patterns of Papal Tweets

Genovese, Federica (2018) 'Politics @Pontifex: International Crises and Political Patterns of Papal Tweets.' PS: Political Science and Politics. ISSN 1049-0965 (In Press)

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Abstract

Political research on social media argues that new channels of technological communication influence political leadership. However, we do not know the extent to which social media affect the power of other authorities - for example, religious leaders - in the secular world. In this paper, I focus on the social media presence of the Pope. I argue that the pontiff uses social media communication to explicitly address certain political issues. Specifically, I claim that his messages on the web tend to be more political when critical world events threaten peaceful international relations and frighten salient religious minorities. I investigate this argument by studying Pope Francis’s statements on Twitter. The analysis indicates that the Pope is more likely to release political tweets at times of international crises, thus targeting issues that otherwise belong to other secular authorities. At the same time, it ‘normalizes’ the church’s power in that it allows the Pope to keep with the Vatican’s long tradition of safeguarding peace and protecting vulnerable populations. These findings have implications for the leadership of the Catholic Church in the modern world and extend to other papacies beyond Francis’s.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: pope, political communication, social media, moral authority
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2018 12:58
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 12:58
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22391

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