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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2021

Cato Waeterloos, Jonas De Meulenaere, Michel Walrave and Koen Ponnet

Following the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many forms of bottom-up civic action emerged as ways to collectively “flatten the curve” and tackle the…

Abstract

Purpose

Following the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many forms of bottom-up civic action emerged as ways to collectively “flatten the curve” and tackle the crisis. In this paper, the authors examine to what extent local online and offline social integration contributes to civic participation, above and beyond typical predictors such as news consumption and civic talk.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was administered among 7,137 users of the online neighbourhood network (ONN) Hoplr in Flanders (i.e. the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) from 8 May to 18 May 2020. Regression analyses were used to examine how local social integration, in addition to news consumption, civic talk and political antecedents, predict different types of civic participation.

Findings

The results show consistent positive associations between news consumption, civic talk and civic participation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the role of political antecedents varied across different forms of civic participation. Further, the results point to the importance of both offline and online local social integration in explaining civic participation.

Originality/value

This study provides much-needed insight in the societal and democratic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results confirm the importance of local social integration in explaining civic participation, while also advancing theoretical understanding of more established predictors of civic participation, such as news consumption and interpersonal communication.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-08-2020-0379.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Book part
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Amanda K. Damarin, Zack Marshall and Lawrence Bryant

This chapter examines how people weigh and discuss opportunities for collective action to improve community health. Drawing from research on civic and social movement…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter examines how people weigh and discuss opportunities for collective action to improve community health. Drawing from research on civic and social movement engagement, it focuses specifically on how cultural logics of pragmatism, activism, and cynicism are invoked in such debates.

Methodology/approach

Qualitative data come from four focus group discussions of strategies for reducing tobacco use in Atlanta’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. Participants included 36 self-identified community members.

Findings

Pragmatic logics were used most often in evaluating the tobacco control strategies, with activist logics second and cynicism a distant third. This echoes prior research, but our participants used these logics in unexpected ways: they combined pragmatism and activism, downplaying the former’s emphasis on individual self-interest and the latter’s emphasis on contentious confrontation. In addition, use of the logics varied by focus group and strategy, but not with individual speaker’s identities.

Research limitations/implications

Though limited by a narrow demographic focus and small convenience sample, our study suggests that public support for community health initiatives will likely depend on how they are framed and on the interactional dynamics and shared identities of the groups they are presented to.

Originality/value

Logics of pragmatism, activism, and cynicism inform debate over community health initiatives, as with other forms of civic action. However, use of these logics is not uniform but varies with the groups and issues at hand. Our study participants’ mutual LGBT identification gave them a sense of shared community and a familiarity with the politicization of personal life that led them to combine pragmatist and activist logics in novel ways.

Details

Special Social Groups, Social Factors and Disparities in Health and Health Care
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-467-9

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Book part
Publication date: 22 December 2017

Carrie James and Ashley Lee

Digital and social media have arguably altered the civic landscape, creating not only opportunities for civic voice and engagement but also distinct challenges. How do…

Abstract

Digital and social media have arguably altered the civic landscape, creating not only opportunities for civic voice and engagement but also distinct challenges. How do youth who are civically active think about activism and their own civic activities in this landscape? How does their sense of themselves as civic actors – the strength and salience of their civic identities – shape decisions to “speak up” online? In this chapter, we draw on data from interviews with civically active youth to explore connections between their civic identities and uptake of opportunities for voice online. Drawing on data from a follow-up study conducted two years after initial interviews, we also examine reported changes in online expression over time. We find that many – though not all – youth in our study appear to have strong civic identities, as indicated by their self-identification as “activists” and the centrality of voice to their conceptions of activism. We also observe connections between activist identification and online civic expression over time. Youths’ narratives about what informs their online voice decisions further suggest the relevance of forces that have influenced persistence in civic participation (such as life transitions, work, and family demands) in addition to pressures unique to the digital context (including online conflict and surveillance). This qualitative study suggests that strong civic identities may support uptake of, and persistence with, online civic expression and tolerance of related challenges. In the discussion, we consider implications for youth civic development and for the vitality and diversity of the digital civic sphere.

Details

Social Movements and Media
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-098-3

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Book part
Publication date: 22 December 2017

Thomas V. Maher and Jennifer Earl

Growing interest in the use of digital technologies and a Putnam-inspired debate about youth engagement has drawn researchers from outside of the study of social movements…

Abstract

Growing interest in the use of digital technologies and a Putnam-inspired debate about youth engagement has drawn researchers from outside of the study of social movements into research on the topic. This interest in youth protest participation has, in turn, developed into a substantial area of research of its own. While offering important research contributions, we argue that these areas of scholarship are often not well grounded in classic social movement theory and research, instead focusing on new media and/or the relationship between activism and other forms of youth engagement. This chapter seeks to correct this by drawing on interviews with 40 high school and college students from a moderately sized southwestern city to examine whether traditional paths to youth activism (i.e., family, friends, and institutions) have changed or eroded as online technology use and extra-institutional engagement among youth has risen. We find that youth continue to be mobilized by supportive family, friends, and institutional opportunities, and that the students who were least engaged are missing these vital support networks. Thus, it is not so much that the process driving youth activism has changed, but that some youth are not receiving support that has been traditionally necessary to spur activism. This offers an important reminder for scholars studying youth and digital activism and youth participation more broadly that existing theory and research about traditional pathways to activism needs to be evaluated in contemporary research.

Details

Social Movements and Media
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-098-3

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2018

Vittoria Marino and Letizia Lo Presti

The last ten years have shown a significant upward trend of engagement in public management reflecting a significant increase in interest in the topic. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

The last ten years have shown a significant upward trend of engagement in public management reflecting a significant increase in interest in the topic. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the benefits and factors affecting the construct of civic engagement that thus far are missing in the current literature through the analysis of studies published in the main journals of management.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a systematic literature review, the current research tries to advance the progress in the understanding of the civic engagement construct analyzing a sample of 96 papers published in the main journals on the subject areas of “communication,” “marketing” and “public sector management.”

Findings

The literature was codified and characterized as follows: level of analysis, variables that affect civic engagement; benefits of civic engagement; and theoretic and methodological approach. This research explores the construct through an analysis of the literature found in the main scientific journals to intercept its various profiles and facets alongside the mechanisms that precede and follow its manifestation.

Practical implications

Public organizations can no longer do without engaging citizens in decision-making processes. Public managers can use these findings to establish a connection with their citizens and influence their publics through commitment and managerial actions that guarantee direct democracy.

Originality/value

This is the first research that aims to study the phenomenon in the public sphere from a multidisciplinary perspective that is as yet incomplete. An integrated vision can highlight current and future developments and eventual opportunities for further research.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2011

Joseph Gerteis

Philip S. Gorski's “Barack Obama and civil religion” seeks to revive and reform the concept of civil religion. This response addresses two sets of issues raised by the…

Abstract

Philip S. Gorski's “Barack Obama and civil religion” seeks to revive and reform the concept of civil religion. This response addresses two sets of issues raised by the entwined analytic and normative claims in the chapter. The first concerns the definition of civil religion, including how the civil and religious spheres are connected within it and how civil religion differs conceptually from other related models. The second concerns whether a renewed commitment to civil religion will provide a platform for greater openness and pluralism, as Gorski claims.

Details

Rethinking Obama
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-911-1

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2018

Eric King-man Chong

The purpose of this paper is to compare and analyse the role and implementation of nationalistic education in Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions (SARs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare and analyse the role and implementation of nationalistic education in Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions (SARs) since their respective handover of sovereignty to China in the late 1990s. Both SARs face the educational need to cultivate a Chinese national identification among the students after the sovereignty changes. While Macau SAR has enjoyed a relatively smooth implementation of nationalistic education towards which Macau’s schools and students are largely receptive to nationalistic programmes since its handover in 1999, Hong Kong SAR Government’s nationalistic education was met by reservation from some parents, students and civil society’s groups under allegations of “political indoctrination” and “brain-washing”. The Hong Kong civil society’s resistance to National Education culminated in the anti-Moral and National Education protest in Summer 2012 and then Hong Kong schools and society. This paper attempts to provide an overview and analysis on the development of nationalistic education in both Hong Kong and Macao SARs, and to give some possible explanations on the factors that lead to differences of perceiving and responding to the nationalistic education between both places.

Design/methodology/approach

After conducting a literature review, this study utilises different sources of data such as curriculum guidelines, previous studies and other scholarly findings in examining the development of civic education and national education policy in both SAR societies, as well as in discussing the possible developments of nationalistic education in both SARs by making references to previous studies of citizenship and nationalistic education.

Findings

This study found out that different relationships between the two SAR Governments and their respective civil society, the extent of established socio-political linkages with China, as well as the introduction of a core subject of Liberal Studies in Hong Kong secondary schools, which emphasises on multiple perspectives and critical thinking skills, are some plausible factors that explain different stories and developments of implementing nationalistic education in Hong Kong and Macao SARs.

Research limitations/implications

For giving suggestions for a nationalistic education in both Chinese SARs, first, there should be an exploration of multiple citizenship identities. This will allow people to choose their identities and thus facilitate their belongingness in terms of local, national and global dimensions. In addition, there should be an exploration of a Chinese national identification with different emphases such as knowledge orientation and critical thinking so as to cater for youth values. Promoting the idea of an informed and reasonable-in-thinking patriot could also be a way to ease the concern that building a national identity negates a person’s freedom of thinking.

Originality/value

This paper attempts to compare and analyse the different responses to the same policy of enhancing nationalistic education development in both Hong Kong and Macao SARs of China. Some plausible explanations were given based on political, social and educational factors, as well as youth value oritentations. This paper would be an attempt to show that a top-down single-minded orientated nationalistic education may not work well a society such as Hong Kong, where civil society and youth values are quite different than that can be found in China.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Book part
Publication date: 6 July 2021

Thomas Elliott and Jennifer Earl

Youth political engagement is often ignored and downplayed by adults, who often embrace a youth deficit model. The youth deficit model downplays the voices and unique…

Abstract

Youth political engagement is often ignored and downplayed by adults, who often embrace a youth deficit model. The youth deficit model downplays the voices and unique experiences of youth in favor of adult-led and adult-centered experiences. Like other historical deficit models, the youth deficit model also provides permission to adults to speak for or about youth, even when not asked to speak for them. We refer to this powerful construction of youth interests by adults as mediation. Fortunately, online advocacy could offer an unmediated route to political engagement for youth as digital natives. Using a unique dataset, we investigate whether online protest spaces offer an unmediated experience for youth to learn about and engage in political protest. However, we find that youth engagement, and especially unmediated youth engagement, is rare among advocacy digital spaces, though it varies by movement, SMO-affiliation, and age groups. Based on our findings, we argue that, rather than youth being primarily responsible for any alleged disengagement, the lack of online spaces offering opportunities for youth to take ownership of their own engagement likely discourages youth from participating in traditional political advocacy and renders the level of youth engagement an admirable accomplishment of young people.

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2010

Fadi F. Skeiker

This study examines models of traditional and alternative citizenship such as legal, flexible, global and cultural citizenship, as a foundation for understanding “liminal…

Abstract

This study examines models of traditional and alternative citizenship such as legal, flexible, global and cultural citizenship, as a foundation for understanding “liminal citizenship”. The study identifies international students based in the United States as liminal citizens and examines the role of theatre in encouraging their civic engagement. It creates a model for using applied theatre techniques to raise international students’ awareness of the possibilities of inclusion within their host communities and to empower them to become active community members.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 23 December 2019

Jose Marichal and Richard Neve

The purpose of this paper is to apply Connolly’s (2003) concept of agonistic respect to develop a typology of agonistic/antagonistic discourses on Twitter. To develop the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply Connolly’s (2003) concept of agonistic respect to develop a typology of agonistic/antagonistic discourses on Twitter. To develop the typology, this study examines 2,236 Tweets containing the hashtag #guncontrol and uses NodeXL (Smith et al., 2010) to create a network map from which the 75 most influential accounts are derived. Using constant-comparative analysis (Glaser and Strauss, 1967), the authors identify seven categories of discourse style based on Connoly’s (2001) notion of ressentiment and “good faith presentations” of opposing arguments: furtive/secretive, cravenly opportunistic, willfully ignorant, irrational sentimental, misunderstanding/misguided, contingently wrong and reciprocal inquiry. The typology provides a useful and unique way to operationalize agonistic democratic theory and serves as the possible basis for training a machine learning classifier to detect antagonistic discourses on social media platforms.

Design/methodology/approach

To determine the level of agonism on Twitter, the authors examine tweets that employed the hashtag #guncontrol on March 12, 2018, one month after the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. The authors used the NodeXL excel add-on to collect and map 2,236 tweets. Using grounded theory/constant-comparative analysis (Glaser and Strauss, 1967), the authors develop a typology of seven types of discourses ordered from most antagonistic to most agonistic using Connolly’s (1993) concept of agonistic respect.

Findings

After examining the top 75 most shared tweets and using constant-comparative analysis to look for patterns of similarity and dissimilarity, the authors identified seven different ways in which individuals present their opponents’ value positions on Twitter on the issue of gun control. The authors were guided by agonistic theory in the authors’ inquiry. The authors looked at how Twitter users expressed their opponent’s faith/value positions, how pluralistic the discourse space was in the comment threads and how much the “talk” was likely to elicit ressentiment from adversaries.

Research limitations/implications

Because the authors intended to engage in theory building, the authors limited the analysis to a selected number of tweets on one particularly salient topic, on one day. The intent of this was to allow for a close reading of the tweets in that specific network for the purposes of creating a useful typology that can be applied to a broader range of cases/issues/platforms.

Practical implications

The authors hope that typology could serve as a potential starting point for Twitter to think about how it could design its algorithms toward agonistic talk. The typology could be used as a classification scheme to differentiate agonistic from antagonistic threads. An algorithm could be trained to spot threads overwhelmingly populated by antagonistic discourse and instructed to insert posts from other threads that represent agonistic responses like “contingently wrong” or “reciprocal inquiry.” While generous presentations or deeper, more nuanced presentations of the opponent’s value position are not a panacea, they could serve to change the orientation by which users engage with policy issues.

Social implications

Social media platforms like Twitter have up to now been left alone to make markets and establish profitability off of public sphere conversations. The result has been a lack of attention to how discourse on these platforms affects users mental well-being, community health and democratic viability. Recently, Twitter’s CEO has indicated a need to rethink the ways in which it promotes “healthy discourse.” The utilitarian presumption that, left to our own devices, we will trial and error our way to the collective good does not account for the importance of others in refining one’s preferences, arguments and world views. Without an “other” to vet ideas and lead us toward becoming wiser, we are left with a Wyly antagonism that moves discourse further and further away from agonistic respect and toward antagonistic virtual struggle. Platforms that allow antagonistic talk that breeds ressentiment run the risk of irrevocably damaging democracy through poisoning its public sphere.

Originality/value

This paper is unique in providing a typology/framework for thinking about the types of “political talk” that exists on Twitter. By using agonistic political theory as a framework, the authors are able to establish some guiding principles for “good political talk” that acknowledges the incommensurability of value positions on issues like gun control. The typology’s emphasis on agonistic respect, ressentiment and generosity in the presentation of alternative value positions provides a starting point from which to map and catalog discourse on Twitter more generally and offers a normative model for changing algorithmic design.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

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