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Social Media and Human Rights


Ella McPherson ImageElla McPherson's research focuses on symbolic struggles surrounding the media in times of transition, whether democratic or digital. Her current research examines the potential of using social media by human rights NGOs for generating governmental accountability. This involves understanding the methodological and reputational implications of using social media and related networks as data sources and dissemination tools, as well as social media's effects on pluralism in human rights discourse. Her previous research, drawing on her media ethnography of human rights reporting at Mexican newspapers, identified the contest for public credibility between state, media, and human rights actors as a significant driver of human rights coverage.

Ella is Lecturer in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology at the University of Cambridge.  She joined the Department of Sociology in March 2014 as an ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow, co-funded by the Isaac Newton Trust. She is also a Research Associate at the Centre of Governance and Human Rights and a Fellow at Queens' College (starting October 2015). Previously, she was an LSE Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science's Department of Media and Communications and a Junior Research Fellow in Sociology at Wolfson College, Cambridge. She earned her PhD from Cambridge's Department of Sociology, funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust and an Overseas Research Scholarship. Her MPhil was in Latin American Studies at Cambridge and her BA was from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.