‘We need to get together and make ourselves heard’: everyday online spaces as incubators of political action

Todd Graham, Daniel Jackson, Scott Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This article examines to what extent, and how, people engaging in political talk within ‘non-political’ discussion forums – online lifestyle communities – leads to political (or personal) action or calls-to-action. The analysis is framed in the context of wider questions of citizenship, civic engagement and political mobilization. To capture everyday political talk amongst citizens requires us to move beyond the now widely analysed online spaces of formal politics. Instead, we focus on online third spaces concerning lifestyle issues such as parenting, personal finance and popular culture. Drawing on a content analysis of three popular UK-based discussion forums over the course of five years (2010–2014), we found that (for two of the three cases) such spaces were more than just talking shops. Rather they were spaces where political actions not only emerged, but where they seemed to be cultivated. Discussions embedded in the personal lives of participants often developed – through talk – into political actions aimed at government (or other) authorities. The article sheds light on the contributing factors and processes that (potentially) trigger and foster action emerging from political talk and provides insight into the mobilization potential of third spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1389
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Volume19
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Civic engagement
  • online communities
  • online deliberation
  • political mobilization
  • political participation
  • political talk

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