Politicians increasingly use online and social media to communicate with voters. In doing so, they frequently use conflict framing (i.e. criticizing other politicians, ideas, or institutions). Conflicts can take a variety of forms and have different effects. We know that conflict framing can mobilize and inform voters, but it can also lead to cynicism and disengagement. What is unclear, however, is whether and how the nature of the conflict frame moderates these effects.
By drawing on philosophical literature about disagreement, this PhD project investigates which types of conflict frames can be distinguished, how prevalent they are and how different kinds of conflict impact political engagement and cynicism. Furthermore, this project will assess the normative implications of the empirical findings for the well-functioning of democracy.