Social Networks and Political Participation
Posted: 15 May 2013
Date Written: May 2013
In recent years, the study of political participation has benefited from growing attention to the study of social networks. Historically, most explanations for political participation have focused on characteristics of individuals. Although these individual-level correlates do a “pretty good” job of predicting who participates, incorporating social networks deepens our understanding of the factors that lead people to express voice in the democratic process. Even though the participation literature has long been split between scholars who favor a focus on individuals and others who emphasize social networks, the two approaches need not be in tension. Instead, they complement one another. The individualistic factors known to correlate with participation - including education, religious attendance, political knowledge, political conviction, and civic duty - all have a social dimension.
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