As part of the CHANSE initiative, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) financed (about 300,000€) the project “PolarVis: Visual Persuasion in a Transforming Europe” (2023-2026) led by Annie Waldherr (PI) and Nicola Righetti (co-PI).
Climate change has been called the defining crisis of our time. In the last few years, millions of people have taken to the streets to demand urgent action on the escalating ecological emergency. Social media have had great importance in the development of the movement. For example, the virality of posts on Twitter and Instagram has quickly transformed the activist Greta Thunberg into an iconic figure, attracting supportive but also openly hostile reactions. The importance of images in the online communication of the movement and the emotions moving these activists and those who attack them online draw attention to the symbolic and emotional role of images for social movements. The PolarVis project will examine the role of visual content in processes of political polarization and belonging in the digital age by focusing on the intergenerational issue of climate change and the green transition.
PolarVis: Visual persuasion in a transforming Europe: The affective and polarizing power of visual content in online political discourse will be led by Annie Waldherr (PI) and Nicola Righetti (Co-PI), and supported by a postdoctoral researcher as well as a student research assistant. The funding provided by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) totals to around € 300.000 over the course of the next three years. The Viennese project of PolarVis is part of a large and interdisciplinary international consortium within the CHANSE initiative. The consortium is led by Alexandra Segerberg of the Department of Government at Uppsala Universitet, Sweden.
Further information on the project can be accessed here.