Instagram and Politics Systematic Review


  • Samantha Mullin MacEwan University


Instagram is used by millions across the globe. We examine how researchers have used Instagram to study politics. In June 2021, we searched SCOPUS and Web of Science to identify 647 studies about Instagram and politics. Of these, 75 studies were deemed relevant studies in terms of being related to politics and containing original data (i.e., included a distinct methods and findings/results section). We find a surge in studies in 2018. We find that about half of the studies are based in European countries and about 23% are based in the United States. This finding is contrary to the study of other platforms and politics, which have documented that the United States is the focal point of research. About half of the studies focus on political elites, whereas only 26% are focused on citizens. Only 6% of studies use survey data, surveys tend to be the mechanism for social scientists to collect data about citizens. Instead, scholarship has focused on digital trace data to study this platform. This review allows us to see if the use of Instagram for politics has changed over time, cross-national differences in the study of Instagram and examine the different methods used to study Instagram. This systematic review helps identify the research gaps and is useful for launching future projects about Instagram and politics.

Department: Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shelley Boulianne