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Spaiser Viktoria, Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, University of Bielefeld Germany
“Young immigrants´ political participation on the Internet in Germany”
I will discuss results from my research project on young immigrants’ political participation on the Internet in Germany with a focus on young people with Turkish and East-European background. Statistical analysis on the basis of survey data was conducted. It compared three groups: ethnic Germans, young people with Turkish and East-European (former Soviet-Union and Poland) origin. Young people with Turkish background turned out to be particularly politically active online, while young East-Europeans are least participative on the Internet. Statistical models show that this is on the one hand related to the social context, which is rather politicized in the case of Turkish respondents. On the other hand young people with Turkish background seem to be more prone to become politically active on the Internet due to their grievances caused by discrimination experiences. In combination with strong political efficacy grievance drives these young people to take up action online. Additionally, the models reveal other important factors to explain political participation on the Internet, like Internet skills. Altogether, the results suggest that disadvantaged immigrant groups are not necessarily constrained by the so-called digital divide. They even may use the Internet for political empowerment under certain conditions.