Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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Despite the emergence of newer forms of web-based political engagement, radio phone-ins continue to have a significant role in the enactment of the democratic process, providing a live forum for direct encounters between members of the public and politicians, beyond the professional forms of mediated encounters between studio journalists and politicians. In this paper, drawing on data from the BBC’s 2015 phone-in , we use Membership Categorisation Analysis to examine the ways in which political engagement is configured within this forum in the run up to the UK General Election in 2015. In particular, we examine how callers and politicians engage in live political debate through transforming personal experiences into politicised social categories. What emerges most significantly here is that, whereas in previous series participants configured political categories through personal social identities, in 2015 there is a particular emphasis on callers’ geographical locations as political categories.


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