Anthony Kelly

Anthony Kelly

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Connect with me

English, French, German
Key Expertise
Online Political Talk, Partisan Media, US Politics, Right-wing Movements

About me

Research topic

Voices of outrage: online partisan media, user-generated news commentary, and the contested boundaries of American conservatism during the 2016 US presidential election

Anthony’s research explores the role of online partisan media in contemporary American politics, with an empirical focus on “below-the-line” commentary on a conservative news and opinion website during the 2016 US presidential election. He situates his approach in terms of the ongoing debate regarding the nature and extent of polarisation in American political life, which in recent years has seen a move away from a model of polarisation based on voters’ policy preferences (i.e., ideological polarisation) to one which takes into account people’s attitudes towards opposing partisans (i.e., affective polarisation).

Whilst identity is central to the concept of affective polarisation, most approaches to the phenomenon have thus far been primarily quantitative in nature. Anthony’s thesis seeks to provide a qualitative account of affective polarisation by drawing on Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory. This framework presents antagonism as a fundamental condition of the political, whilst viewing identities as shifting, relational, and contingent formations that are constituted and reconstituted through contact with competing discourses. Anthony integrates this approach with the critical study of digital media by looking at how the boundaries of American conservative identities are negotiated and contested by audiences in user-generated news commentary through the frequently antagonistic characterisation of political opponents.

Anthony’s doctoral research is supported by a National University of Ireland Travelling Studentship in Media and Communications. See here for an overview of Anthony’s research in which he discusses the role of online partisan media in contemporary American right-wing politics. Alongside his doctoral research, Anthony is also interested in broader questions of how communication technologies are being used to develop new forms of political practice and engagement.

Supervisors: Dr Nick Anstead and Professor Nick Couldry


Although Anthony is primarily interested in the study of political talk, he has experience contributing to research on a broad range of topics. Most recently, he worked as a Research Officer on Prof Terhi Rantanen’s LSE KEI-funded project, The Future of National News Agencies in Europe. He also spent two years as a Research Assistant to Prof Nick Couldry in LSE’s Department of Media and Communications. Some of the other topics on which Anthony has worked include: Arab transitional media, the incidence and consequences of cyberbullying, the use of biometric technology in French immigration management, and the development of large-group evaluation techniques for anthropology undergraduates.

Anthony has extensive teaching experience in the UK and Ireland. Most recently, he was a Guest Teacher on LSE100, LSE’s flagship interdisciplinary course for undergraduates. He has also worked as a Teaching Associate in Social and Political Marketing in the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to beginning his PhD at LSE, Anthony was an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Maynooth University, where he designed and delivered seminar-based modules in Digital Anthropology, Political Media, and Globalisation.

Anthony received a First Class Honours European Joint Masters in Cultural Differences and Transnational Processes (CREOLE) in 2009, based at Stockholms universitet, L’Université Lumière Lyon 2, and Maynooth University. In 2007, he received a Joint First Class Honours BA International in French and Anthropology from Maynooth University, where he was awarded the Prix Lombard by the Department of French for the best undergraduate dissertation in French, as well as the Conrad Arensberg Prize in Anthropology, offered to the best overall student in anthropology at BA level.

Expertise Details

Online Political Talk; Partisan Media; US Politics; Right-wing Movements; Democracy


Kelly, A. (2020). Recontextualising right-wing outrage online. Manuscript in preparation.

Rantanen, T. & Kelly, A. (in press). Abnegation, accommodation, affirmation: Three discursive modes for the institutional construction of independence among national news agency executives in Europe. Journalism.

Rantanen, T., Jääskeläinen, A., Bhat, R., Stupart, R. & Kelly, A. (2019). The future of national news agencies in Europe: Executive summary. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

Livingstone, S., Stoilova, M., & Kelly, A. (2016). Cyberbullying: incidence, trends and consequences. In United Nations, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Ending the torment: tackling bullying from the schoolyard to cyberspace  (pp. 115-122). New York, NY: United Nations. Retrieved from

Kelly, A. (2013). Doing it digitally: Methodological tensions in online ethnography. Irish Journal of Anthropology 16(1): 47-53. Retrieved from