“We Feel Fine”: Big Data Observations about State Institutions and Social Inclusion
Dr. Victoria L. Lemieux, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia (on leave) and Senior Public Sector Specialist, The World Bank

Event Details

Abstract of the Talk: On December 17th, 2010, a Tunisian fruit vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi took a can of gasoline and set himself on fire in front of the local governor’s office. Bouazizi’s actions resulted from having his fruit cart confiscated by local police and his frustration at not obtaining an audience with the local governor; his death is said to have sparked what we now know as the “Arab Spring.” The events leading up to and during the Arab Spring raise questions of what causes citizens to protest against their governments? Theorists from different disciplines have put forward many explanations of such events but in this project, Dr. Lemieux discusses her work leading an international research team investigating the relationship between social protest and citizen trust. Though motivated by the Arab Spring, the study focuses on protests during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Football Event that took place in Brazil from 12 June – 13 July 2014. The study is an exploratory one in which the team has drawn upon public administration and political science literature relating to trust in government, as well as from literature on social protest theory from social psychology and sociology. Operationalizing the construct of trust in the study as a measure of the sentiment expressed in the content of twitter data, the team built a tool for and conducted a visual analysis of sentiment classified Twitter data to derive insights about the following research questions: 1) how did citizens feel about their state institutions around the time of the protests, 2) how did these feelings connect to their sentiments about Brazilian Federal and State Government and politicians and 3) how did such sentiments translate into collective behaviours? The results of the study reveal that the 2014 World Cup protests in Brazil sprang from a wide range of grievances coupled with a relative sense of deprivation compared with emergent comparative ‘standards’.  This sense of grievance gave rise to sentiments that activated online protest and may have led to other forms of social protest, such as street demonstrations.

Biography of the Speaker: Dr. Victoria Lemieux is a Senior Public Sector Specialist (Information Management) and an Associate Professor of Archival Studies at the University of British Columbia (on leave). She has held positions as a professional archivist, records manager and risk manager within the public sector and private sectors, and in higher education as an administrator and educator. She has also consulted previously for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the World Bank. Her current research is focused on risk to the availability of trustworthy records, in particular in financial contexts, and how these risks impact upon transparency, financial stability, public accountability and human rights. She holds a doctorate from University College London (Archival Studies, 2002), which focused on the information-related causes of the Jamaican Banking Crisis and, since 2005, has been a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). She is also the winner of the 2015 Emmett Leahy Award which recognizes an individual whose contributions and accomplishments have had a major impact on the records and information management profession.

 

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