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Journal Articles Political Communication Year : 2016

What Drives Political Participation? Motivations and Mobilization in a Digital Age

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Abstract

This article provides insights into the driving forces that underpin new forms of political participation. Digital technologies offer opportunities for engaging in a wide range of civically oriented activities, each of which can contribute to deeper democratic engagement. Conventional acts of political participation are argued to be driven primarily by intrinsic motivations relating to self-efficacy and empowerment, with participants feeling they can have influence over decision makers. Little research explores whether similar motivations drive participation in less conventional acts, as well as whether mobilization attempts via social media by peers or political organizations mediate those motivations. Drawing on data from a survey among a representative sample of the U.K. electorate, we find the offline and online spheres of agency remain fairly distinct. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations both matter but extrinsic motivations have the strongest explanatory power independent of the sphere of activity. The mediating effect of mobilization tactics has a minimal effect on extrinsic motivations, online or offline, but online intrinsic motivations lose their explanatory power. As intrinsic factors offer little explanatory power, some forms of online political participation may lack meaning to the individual. Rather, these non-conventional acts result from reward seeking and are more likely to be encouraged by nongovernmental campaigning organizations, suggesting social media users are most likely to perform simple acts in support of non-contentious causes.

Dates and versions

hal-01388542 , version 1 (27-10-2016)

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Darren G. Lilleker, Karolina Koc-Michalska. What Drives Political Participation? Motivations and Mobilization in a Digital Age. Political Communication, 2016, 34 (1), pp.21-43. ⟨10.1080/10584609.2016.1225235⟩. ⟨hal-01388542⟩

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