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Interest Groups, Advocacy and Democracy Series

Beyond Slacktivism

Political Participation on Social Media

Authors: Dennis, James

  • Establishes the personalised context for the forms of digitally networked action that have taken place over the last decade
  • Draws on a radical and highly innovative multi-method research design, combining qualitative, quantitative, and computational traditions
  • Argues that Facebook and Twitter create new opportunities for cognitive engagement, discursive participation, and political mobilisation
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Buy this book

eBook £47.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00844-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £59.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00843-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Beyond Slacktivism examines how routine social media use shapes political participation. Many commentators have argued that activism has been compromised by “slacktivism,” a pejorative term that refers to supposedly inauthentic, low-threshold forms of engagement online. Dennis argues that this critique has an overly narrow focus. He offers a novel theoretical framework—the continuum of participation—to help illuminate how and why citizens use social networking sites to consume news, discuss civic matters, and engage in politics. This idea is explored in two interrelated settings. Firstly, in an activist context, through an ethnography of the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees. Secondly, within day-to-day life, by combining evidence of behaviour online with reflective diaries. Drawing on this rich data on individual-level attitudes and behaviours, Dennis challenges slacktivism as a judgement on contemporary political action. Beyond Slacktivism provides an account of how the seemingly mundane everyday use of social media can be beneficial to democracy.

 

About the authors

James Dennis is Senior Lecturer in Political Communication and Journalism at the University of Portsmouth, UK. His research interests lie in political communication, with a particular focus on social media, political participation and citizenship, and digital news. James' work has been published in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, and Political Studies. He maintains a personal research site at jameswilldennis.com and can be found on Twitter at @jameswilldennis.

Reviews

“It’s better to light a candle than to fantasize about a sun” is the eloquent rallying cry of James Dennis’ conceptually rich and meticulously researched critique of the idea of slacktivism. By analyzing the testimony of authentic, socially-situated individuals, Dennis guides us through the complex textures of political life online. His research compels us to look beyond the lazy clichés found in so much public debate about social media and political engagement. Read this book. Discuss it with your students. It will change the way we think about one of the most urgent issues of our time.” (Andrew Chadwick, Loughborough University, UK)

“There was a time when pundits referred to online activism as slacktivism. Gone are those days, as recent movements and waves of populism demonstrate the ability of online media to connect (and separate!) people around common sentiment. Read this book and understand how it all happens. Engaging, insightful, and sharp.” (Zizi Papacharissi, University of Illinois-Chicago, USA)

“James Dennis’s book addresses a core research question: “what effect does routine social media use have on political engagement?” In answering this question Dennis skillfully sidelines assumptions of slacktivism and clicktivism to take a deeper look at instances of meaningful digital micro-activism via engaging ethnographic research, with both individual social media users, and the influential digital campaigning organisation, 38 Degrees. The book, importantly, demonstrates that politics and participation now emerge though everyday forms of communication and engagement.” (Ariadne Vromen, University of Sydney, Australia)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • “It’s Better to Light a Candle Than to Fantasise About a Sun”

    Dennis, James

    Pages 1-23

  • #stopslacktivism: Why Clicks, Likes, and Shares Matter

    Dennis, James

    Pages 25-69

  • Operationalising the Continuum of Participation

    Dennis, James

    Pages 71-93

  • People. Power. Change. 38 Degrees and Digital Micro-Activism on Social Media

    Dennis, James

    Pages 95-121

  • An Informed Public? News Consumption on Social Media

    Dennis, James

    Pages 123-152

Buy this book

eBook £47.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00844-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £59.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00843-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Beyond Slacktivism
Book Subtitle
Political Participation on Social Media
Authors
Series Title
Interest Groups, Advocacy and Democracy Series
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-00844-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-00844-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-00843-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 262
Number of Illustrations
12 b/w illustrations, 16 illustrations in colour
Topics