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Party campaigners or citizen campaigners? How social media deepen and broaden party-related engagement

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journal contribution
posted on 25.01.2018 by Cristian Vaccari, Augusto Valeriani
Digital media are often blamed for accelerating the decline of political parties as channels for citizen participation. By contrast, we show that political engagement on social media may revitalize party activities because these platforms are means for both party members and ordinary citizens to discuss politics and engage with and around political parties. Using online surveys conducted in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, we find that party members engage in a wider variety of party-related activities than average respondents, but the same can also be said of nonparty members who informally discuss politics on social media. Moreover, the strength of the relationship between party membership and engagement decreases as the intensity of political discussion on social media increases. This suggests that political discussions on social media can narrow the divide in party-related engagement between members and nonmembers, and to some extent flatten rather than reinforce existing political hierarchies. Finally, we find that the correlation between party membership and engagement is stronger in Germany, where party organizations are more robust, than in Italy and the United Kingdom, highlighting the role of party organizational legacies in the digital age.

Funding

This research was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education “Future in Research 2012” initiative (project code RBFR12BKZH) for the project titled “Building Inclusive Societies and a Global Europe Online: Political Information and Participation on Social Media in Comparative Perspective” (http://www.webpoleu.net).

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

International Journal of Press/Politics

Volume

21

Issue

3

Pages

294 - 312

Citation

VACCARI, C. and VALERIANI, A., 2016. Party campaigners or citizen campaigners? How social media deepen and broaden party-related engagement. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 21 (3), pp. 294-312.

Publisher

Sage © The Author(s)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

09/03/2016

Publication date

2016-04-06

Notes

Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The definitive published version of this paper is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161216642152.

ISSN

1940-1612

eISSN

1940-1620

Language

en

Exports