How Citizenship Norms and Digital Media Use Affect Political Participation: A Two-Wave Panel Analysis

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How Citizenship Norms and Digital Media Use Affect Political Participation: A Two-Wave Panel Analysis


  • Jennifer Oser Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University, Israel


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Abstract:  A centrally important question for researchers of media and communication is whether any type of individual-level behavior (e.g., digital media use) or normative attitude (e.g., norms of good citizenship) contributes to equalizing patterns of political participation, which often favor higher-status groups. Drawing on a two-wave repeated panel telephone survey that uses a nationally representative sampling frame, the study’s research design facilitates a robust analysis of how citizenship norms and digital media use affect political participation, with a focus on comparing higher- and lower-status groups. Specifically, the study analyzes a survey conducted in 2018 (Wave 1) and 2019 (Wave 2) among Israeli citizens, with a representative sampling of the generally higher-status Jewish majority and the lower-status Arab minority. The findings indicate that citizenship norms and digital media use in Wave 1 have a time-ordered positive effect on nonelectoral participation in Wave 2 for both Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. However, the findings also show that for voting, the only statistically significant determinant is citizens’ Jewish or Arab identity. At a time when many democracies are facing severe challenges due to democratic erosion and social disintegration, this study contributes a normatively encouraging finding that key factors identified in the literature on citizenship norms and digital media use do not contribute to participatory inequalities between the Jewish majority and Arab minority in Israel. The findings also show, however, that it is essential to look beyond digital media use patterns to mobilize lower-status groups to become politically engaged in electoral-oriented politics.

Keywords:  citizenship norms; digital media; electoral participation; nonelectoral participation; participatory inequality; voting

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v10i3.5482


© Jennifer Oser. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.