Journal section "Social and economic development"

Youth Involvement in Digital Civic Activism: From Online Encounter to Participation

Abramova S.B., Antonova N.L.

Volume 16, Issue 2, 2023

Abramova S.B., Antonova N.L. (2023). Youth involvement in digital civic activism: From online clash to participation. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 16(2), 149–165. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2023.2.86.8

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2023.2.86.8

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The involvement of the younger generation in civic participation practices is a relevant task for youth policy actors and public activists. The digital environment not only expands the forms and directions of civic activism, but also designs new mobilization mechanisms. Network communities have a high involvement potential, but they exist in a saturated information flow. Therefore, it is important to understand how users encounter messages on socially significant issues and initiatives to address them, and how they react to them (“input level”: coming across an offer to participate in a civic project); and whether this experience affects the intensity of involvement in real practices of digital civic activism (“output level”: reacting in the form of participation/non-participation in the project). The article is based on the results of an online survey of young residents of the Sverdlovsk Oblast (n = 1150). The sample population includes students and working youth. According to the results of cluster analysis, we propose a typology of models showing how young people encounter the content about civic initiatives; we identify and describe three types: involved, superficial and scrolling readers. We provide a classification of resources that young citizens are subscribed to, in terms of their connection with issues of civic activism; we also reveal that subscriptions to specialized resources are closely connected with the typology of encountering this type of content. We reveal how young people react when they come across civic messages, and find out that they mostly show denying and interested reactions, while the amount of supportive and active responses is negligible. We build a typology of digital participation based on assessing the intensity of involvement. The share of those highly involved in the information field and real practices is 5%; the majority of respondents belong to the medium-active and low-active participants in civic activism


youth, engagement, civic activism, digital activism, mobilization of participation, factors promoting attractiveness of the content

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