Researching the Sociopolitical Meanings of the Spanish–Catalan Conflict Using the Analysis of User’s Communications on Twitter

Abstract

This case study examines the socio-political meaning of the Spanish-Catalan conflict through an analysis of stakeholders’ communications on Twitter. Both tweets and reactions to tweets posted by the two opposing parties in the Spanish-Catalan conflict were analyzed. Specifically, we studied the responses of supporters for Spanish unity and supporters of Catalan independence to the tweets of leading EU politicians during a period of heated discussions on Spanish unity and Catalan independence from May 2017 to June 2019. The study was divided into six periods, corresponding to the development of events on the eve of and following the Catalan independence referendum in 2017. For the purposes of this study, we relied on both qualitative content analysis and a quantitative methodology. On the quantitative side, we counted the total numbers of replies of each party to the tweets selected for research, as well as the number of “likes” to these replies. On the qualitative side, we analyzed the meaning of the replies to the tweets of these politicians. In addition to detailing our chosen methodology, this case study offers recommendations for planning and conducting similar research on social networks.

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