Online Forms of Participation and their Impact on Political Activism
Studies on offline political participation have for a long time demonstrated a deep participatory divide between those participating a lot – a minority – and a vast majority of citizens taking part to very few political activities. One of the argument of promoters of new forms of e-participation is that going online would lower the threshold of participation. The consequence would be that more citizens would participate to political actions when they are held online. However, various recent studies have shown that the divide between highly active an passive citizens remain for online participation (Nielsen, 2006).
This panel invites papers that would address the reality of online participation and that would question the persistance, or the erosion/transformation, of the participatory divide. In-depth examinations of the factors that appear to differentiate citizens in their relation to online participation are especially welcome. Analyses may look at a wide variety of forms of e-participation such as e-petitions, e-protests, mobilisations on social media as well as online political forums. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome.