‘Who, if not me?’ How political self-categorizations shape the meaning of political self-expression on social media as a citizenship norm

Gagrčin, Emilija

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2023.2174792
URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691...
Additional URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/368927529...
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-640856
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2023
Date: 1 March 2023
The title of a journal, publication series: Information, Communication & Society : ICS
Volume: tba
Issue number: tba
Page range: 1-18
Place of publication: London
Publishing house: Routledge
ISSN: 1369-118X , 1468-4462
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (Naab 2022-)
Subject: 070 News media, journalism, publishing
Classification: THES_SOZ: social media, youth participation, political self-expression, citizenship norms, social identity,
Keywords (English): social media , youth participation , citizenship norms , social identity , political self-expression
Abstract: With political self-expression emerging as a prominent practice of political participation on social media platforms, scholars have hypothesized that this practice may have evolved into a norm and component of ‘good citizenship.’ Empirical findings, however, are inconclusive, as some young people express their politics out of a sense of civic duty, while others view this engagement as a waste of time. Based on the idea that how we define ourselves impacts the normative meanings that we attach to things in the social world, the study explores the role of social identities in people’s evaluations of expressive engagement. Empirically, the study is based on qualitative interview data with social media users in Serbia (n = 18). The findings show that engaging in political self-expression does not appear to be a citizenship norm but a personal norm in individuals with pronounced political self-concepts who perceive that their core self-category is at stake in the public discourse. Moreover, people employ social categorizations, such as ideology, partisanship, and social class, to evaluate the content and form of political self-expression as good or bad. Aside from issues of political self-expression, the study challenges the idea that individual understandings of what it means to be a good citizen are universal and static and that people’s subjective positionality in social contexts matters.

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