Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Editorial | Open Access

Why We Should Distinguish Between Mobilization and Participation When Investigating Social Media

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Abstract:  In the recent past, social media has become a central channel and means for political and societal mobilization. Mobilization refers to the process by which political parties, politicians, social movements, activists, and other political and social actors induce citizens to participate in politics in order to win elections, convince others of their own positions, influence policies, and modify rulings. While not sufficient on its own for facilitating participation, mobilization is necessary for participation to occur, which justifies examining mobilization specifically to understand how people can be involved in politics. This thematic issue of Media and Communication presents various perspectives on the role of social media in mobilization, embracing both its recruitment side (traditional and non-established political actors, social and protest movements) and its network side (the ways citizens respond to mobilization appeals). Taken together, the thematic issue highlights the multifaceted nature and scholarly fruitfulness of mobilization as an independent concept.

Keywords:  activism; campaigning; citizenship; political mobilization; social mobilization; new civics; political parties; politicians; social media; social movements



© Jörg Haßler, Melanie Magin, Uta Russmann. 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.