Research Centre on Representatives and their Communication (RCRC)

The Research Centre on Representatives and their Communication (RCRC) is an interdisciplinary group of scholars studying how individual politicians represent and communicate.

In a context of increasing popular dissatisfaction with political representation and representatives, the projects of the RCRC examine their beliefs, behaviour and communication.

The research mission of RCRC can be operationalized in four questions:

  1. With which segments of society are representatives interacting?
  2. What type of information do they obtain through these interactions?
  3. How do they communicate back to their societal interlocutors?
  4. What do they do in, or before, government with the information they get in from society?

Within this general framework, the consortium launches a number of specific, comparative research projects using a range of (often innovative) methods combining social science (experiments, surveys, interviews…) with computational linguistic approaches (of automatic text analysis).

The projects look into:

  • the accuracy of representatives’ perception of public opinion,
  • the social bias in their personal networks,
  • their selective communication to their voters/members/audience,
  • the role of social media in reinforcing their attitudes,
  • how they represent within their organizations (parties,..) etc.

Taken together, these projects represent a never seen, in-depth analyses of how individual representatives make representative democracy work (or not).

The RCRC is a collaboration between the research groups: