Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


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Jaroslav Švelch, Lenka Vochocová:
Social Media As a New Challenge for Political Participation Research [65]

Švelch, Jaroslav, Lenka Vochocová. 2015. „Sociální média jako nová výzva pro výzkum politické participace.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 51 (1): 65-88,

This article aims to synthesise existing theoretical and empirical work on political participation in social media, a topic especially relevant but still under-researched in post-transformation countries such as the Czech Republic. It argues for encouraging productive dialogue between the political science approach to participation research and the work in media and communication studies. First, the article sums up normative and theoretical standpoints taken when discussing and researching new media, society, and participation. It then reviews existing empirical findings from various countries. It concludes that there is no consensus on either the positive or negative effects that social media have on the extent to which people participate in political life. A possible reason for this lack of consensus is that theories of online political participation are underdeveloped. Any such theories should take into account the unique affordances of social media and the resulting social dynamics of their use.

Keywords: political participation, social media, new media, civic engagement, democracy, social movements, public sphere

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