Dynamics of National Attachment in the United States, 2010-2014

Faculty Member: Professor Bart Bonikowski

The project uses Twitter data to systematically track daily fluctuations in American collective identification over the period of four years, from 2010 to 2014. The primary descriptive task is to understand what kinds of social, political, and economic events produce spikes in national consciousness over time. Such spikes, however, are likely to vary in their durability and symmetry: some periods of increased national attachment may be more fleeting than others and some may come on more suddenly than others. Understanding this variation and explaining it with reference to different types of nation-relevant events is the second objective of the project. Finally, the degree to which any event produces a surge in national self-consciousness depends in part on how people understand their nation, which in turn is likely to differ across different regions of the United States. The third objective, then, is to understand the geographic variation in the dynamics of American national attachment.

Description of RA Duties: The research assistant will be responsible for collecting and organizing aggregate Twitter data using a GUI interface, producing a data set in Stata or R, running descriptive statistics, and conducting final analyses using regression-based models. Other tasks may include literature searches and summaries, manuscript formatting, and PowerPoint presentation editing.