All Politics is Local

Anonymous and the Steubenville/Maryville Rape Cases

Authored by: Christian Christensen

The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138860766
eBook ISBN: 9781315716299
Adobe ISBN: 9781317506560


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The phrase ‘all politics is local’ is attributed to the former United States Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Tip O’Neill. What O’Neill was attempting to convey was that while the popular understanding of politics is one in which politicians deal with large-scale, grand ideas, what voters actually care about is what happens to them at the everyday, local level. In other words, if politicians want to appeal to their base, and thus get votes and remain in office, they must both understand these local concerns, and act on them. In addition to contextualising politics, the phrase is also a reminder to researchers that while large-scale national and global political events (such as wars or elections) are important and worthy of attention, we should not forget how events at the lesser-covered regional or local levels usually encapsulate fundamental social and political issues. In turn, how these regional and/or local events are, for example, covered in the news media or impacted by social media use is also becomes extremely important.

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