Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

No Digital “Castles in the Air”: Online Non-Participation and the Radical Left

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Abstract:  This article presents results from a study of online presence in activist milieus associated with the radical left in Sweden discussed from a perspective of non-participation. With the aim to further the understanding of digital non-participation as communicative strategy in activism, it builds upon empirical findings and argues that the online practices and use of social media, as could be observed in milieus associated with the radical left, indicates active non-participation and that this, in turn, is related to the ambition to claim autonomy. The article draws from existing scholarship on critical perspectives on protest movements and social media as well as empirical examples of online content published by radical leftist groups. Furthermore, it analyses how these activities could be understood in terms of active and passive non-participation, abstention or adaptation to social media affordances, as well as implosion of the social in digital media. The findings suggest that much of the activities in the material could be described as active non-participation and that this media practice relates to ideological positioning and values in the milieu.

Keywords:  activism; digital media; non-participation; online media; radical left



© Linus Andersson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.