New Hopes for Democracy or a Pirated Elite? Swedish Social Media Users and Political Mobilisation

19 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014

See all articles by Nils Gustafsson

Nils Gustafsson

Lund University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 29, 2010

Abstract

In this study, a group of Swedish social media users – politically active as well as “unpolitical” users – are interviewed in focus groups as well as individually about their attitudes towards online political participation, providing a deeper, more informed view of how social media participation works. Sweden, with its high levels of voluntary participation and with an avant-garde position in Internet, broadband and social media penetration, could indeed function as a most-likely case for studying whether social media has any positive effects on participation. The participants in the study are well-educated, young and comfortable using the Internet, further increasing the probability of finding individuals engaged in digital activism.

The results are puzzling: on the one hand, there is an almost unanimous contempt for political campaigns in social media among the participants. On the other hand, almost all of the participants are engaging with politics in social media in various ways. The article concludes in arguing that intensive methods must be used in order to gain a richer understanding of the political behaviour of citizens online.

Keywords: social media, political participation, social network sites, political mobilisation, Web 2.0

Suggested Citation

Gustafsson, Nils, New Hopes for Democracy or a Pirated Elite? Swedish Social Media Users and Political Mobilisation (March 29, 2010). Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580580

Nils Gustafsson (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 117
Lund, SC Skane S221 00
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.svet.lu.se?NGU

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