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The research presented in this video exposes the inner mechanisms at work in political discourse. By first modelling verbal interaction between political actors with an agent-based model, and then analyzing the interaction with network analysis PHILIP LEIFELD detects four basic mechanisms: innovative and path-dependent mechanisms, as well as constructivist mechanisms (based on learning and interaction between people) and rational-choice mechanisms (based on external ideology). A combination of those four leads to a discourse looking like a “real-world debate”.


Philip Leifeld is a Senior Lecturer in Research Methods at the University of Glasgow (UK). In addition, Leifeld holds the position as Director of Postgraduate Research Training in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Previously, Leifeld was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, and the Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research.

His area of specialization is political networks, state actors, and policy networks. In particular, Leifeld focuses on verbal interaction between political actors, and the discourse that surrounds political parlance. For his doctoral dissertation Leifeld was awarded two different ‘Best Dissertation Awards’ (sponsored by the Foundation of Science and Society at the University of Konstanz and the German Employers Federation Südwestmetall).


University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, Glasgow is the fourth oldest English-speaking university in the world. We are a broad-based, research intensive institution ranked in the top 1% of the world's universities. As a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities, Glasgow changes the world with its expertise. Total research income now exceeds £200 million per year and 81% of our research is rated as internationally excellent. Our researchers are making important discoveries, whether that’s opening up a new field of astronomy by contributing to the world’s first detection of gravitational waves, or developing an over-the-counter test for bowel cancer. Our stunning campus, boasts over 100 listed buildings as well as modern teaching and research facilities. We have an ambitious campus development plan in place that will see our staff and students benefit from investment of £1 billion over the next five years. ( Source )
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Original publication

Polarization of Coalitions in an Agent-Based Model of Political Discourse

Leifeld Philip
Computational Social Networks
Published in 2014

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