Jan 24, 2021

Networking Young Citizens


The WUN Networking Young Citizens Study Group comprises a number of scholars dedicated to understanding and developing civic engagement and learning in youth online environments.

The broad aims of the study group are:

To explore the contemporary political and civic engagement of networked young citizens both within and beyond their own societies. Our investigations are shaped by how wider social and cultural factors of globalization, individualization and social media influence the political attitudes, values and behaviour of young people. The scope of our research interest includes ‘unconventional’ political engagement (social movements, connective action, protest), changing political norms, the rise of smaller political parties, celebrity politics, identity and consumer politics, austerity social conditions, rising social inequalities, political socialization and civic education.

The Civic Network project

A two year comparative research project was launched in 2012 with a USD$312,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to examine the potential influence of social media upon the political values and behaviour of young people in the UK, Australia and the USA. Ariadne Vromen (PI – University of Sydney) worked with Brian Loader (University of York) and Mike Xenos (University of Wisconsin-Madison) to investigate whether new attitudes and styles of politics are manifesting themselves through the use of social media by young citizens. The research team are all members of the Networking Young Citizens study group.

Selected outcomes

  • Loader, B.D., Vromen, A., & Xenos, M. (2016) ‘Performing for the young networked citizen?: celebrity politics, social networking and the political engagement of young people. (with Vromen, A. and Xenos, M.) Media, Culture & Society, DOI: 101177/0163443715608261
  • Vromen, A., Loader, B.D. & Xenos, M. ‘Beyond Lifestyle Politics in a time of crisis?: comparing young people’s issue agendas and views on inequality’, (2016) Policy Studies, 36:6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2015.1095283
  • Vromen, A., Loader, B.D. & Xenos, M. ‘Everyday-making through Facebook engagement: Young citizens’ political interactions in Australia, UK and USA’, Political Studies (accepted Sept 2015)
  • Qiu, J. and Loader, B.D. (2016) ‘Understanding Digital Cultures’, Information, Communication & Society, 19:1, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1094114
  • Mercea, D., Iannelli, L. and Loader, B.D. (2016) ‘Protest Communication Ecologies’, Information, Communication & Society, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1109701
  • Hosted ‘Protest as a Norm of Youth Citizenship? When Contentious Politics Becomes Everyday Civic Engagement’. Protest Participation in Variable Communication Ecologies: Meanings, Modalities and Implications in Italy, June 2015
  • Hosted ‘Understanding Global Digital Cultures‘ Conference at the WUN Conference & AGM 2015 in Hong Kong, April 2015
  • Mr Brian D. Loader served as a witness to the Speakers Commission on Digital Democracy in the UK, July 2014.
  • Awarded US$312K from the Spencer Foundation to conduct a comparative study in Australia, the UK and the US