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Article

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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