Digital engagement facilitates new forms of civic and political participation. Yet questions continue to emerge around online engagement and social change. Karolina Koc-Michalska, Darren G Lilleker, and Thierry Vedel interrogate the increasing uses, and circulation of information in digital citizen engagement in ‘Civic political engagement and social change in the new digital age,’ published in New Media & Society.
Koc-Michalska, Lilleker, and Vedel examine the forms of digital participation with politically engaged citizens, and explore their sociopolitical implications. The authors find that digital interactions with political information can lead to further dialogue and participatory behaviour. In addition, some forms of participation can have an empowering effect on communities in strong personal and collective ways, sometimes to the extent of informing political responses and impacting mainstream agendas. The study tentatively suggests that political participation can be affected positively by social media, calling for further inquiry into the effects and variables across demographics, and a broader definition of political participation that accounts for new, non-traditional forms.
Karolina Koc-Michalska is Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Audencia Business School. Darren Lilleker, lecturer and researcher of political communication at Bournemouth University, is also the Director of the Centre for Public Communication Research. Thierry Vedel is a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF), Paris.