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Identities and emotions towards civic participation

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31 de março de 2011: Brites, M. J. Identities and emotions towards civic participation. Civic Cultures Conference, Communication and Media Department. Lund University, Suécia.

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Identities and emotions towards civic participation

  1. 1. IDENTITIES AND EMOTIONS TOWARDS CIVIC PARTICIPATION CIVIC CULTURES CONFERENCE | 31ST OF MARCH 2011 | LUND UNIVERSITY Maria José Brites FCT, CIMJ and ULP
  2. 2. Towards engagement?  People subjective views on the political are related to their experience as members and participants - as agents - and has deep connections with practices and emotions (Dahlgren, 2009: 119).  “Motivation without affect would be hard to comprehend” (Dahlgren, 2009: 83 and 84).  “Political participation is to a large extent driven by affective motives. Political activists enjoy meetings, speeches, intriguing and campaigning.” (Coleman, 2004).  “The theorists who want to eliminate passions from politics and argue that democratic politics should be understood only in terms of reason, moderation and consensus are showing their lack of understanding of the dynamics of the political” (Mouffe, 2005: 29).
  3. 3. Towards engagement?  Identities (knowledge, values and trust; and spaces and practices) (Dahlgren, 2009: 119).  Feeling of belonging, that can reflect gradations of proximity (Menezes, 2005: 18).  “Sense of being an empowered political agent” (Dahlgren , 2009: 120),  Civic participation: “feeling of a ‘we’” (Dahlgren, 2009: 121), mobilized against a “they”.  Self well-being and satisfaction with democracy (Menezes and Ferreira, 2008: 22). Within Digital Inclusion and Participation Project . Comparing the trajectories of digital media use by majority and disadvantaged groups in Portugal and the USA: debate on gradations of the digital uses (UTAustin|Portugal/CD/016/2008). Among young producers of blogs, personal WebPages and MySpace: What linkages can we find with civic participation? What are their backgrounds? Is there a unity or a generation gap between young citizens and their parents? (Ponte, forthcoming 2011: 8).
  4. 4. Methodological considerations  35 interviews with young people (PhD project on Youth, participation and News).  All of them have at least a certain degree of participation.  Some of them are deeply committed to traditional or non traditional ways of participation.  What makes them participate either in the political or in news media?  Who are the interviewees that produce blogs, have personal pages or accounts in MySpace?  What linkages can we find in relation to family and peer discussions and conversations regarding to participation?
  5. 5. What makes them participate either in the political or in news media?  Political  More emotions: boys and girls are different.  Reason: among boys/traditional participation.  Difficulties: parents, I don’t like it, laziness  News  No gender differences: type of news production.  … But gender differences in discourses, in relation to their role in the production of news.
  6. 6. What makes them participate either in the political or in news media? Girls Boys  Civic Opportunity:  “… help other people, I want to help other people. I work at McDonalds, I can be fired if I give food to someone… a person asked for food and I gave it... my boss was there.” (girl, 18, low income area)  Civic Opportunity :  “Our possibility of participate and to give something to the other… its a way to make me feel happy.” (boy, 17, political party)
  7. 7. What makes them participate either in the political or in news media? Girls Boys  Learn How to Participate, How to Be Active and How to Be part of: “I wanted to learn how to participate, to like politics… […] I wanted to be part of the group [...]. have a sense of belonging.” (girl, 16, School Parliament Program)  Chance to Have a Voice: “I wanted to have the chance to have a voice and to know the opinion of other people.” (girl, 16, school newspaper)  Peer Influence, Mostly at School: “I knew that Steve would be the leader of the list… I would be in the middle of the list… but in the end it was worthy.” (Girl, 16, School Parliament Program)  Personal Interest and Ability: “I only participate if I have an interest.” (boy, 21, School Parliament Program)  “Since I have knowledge, at class, […] I can talk and people will listen to me.” (boy, 16, School Parliament Program)
  8. 8. What makes them participate either in the political or in news media? Girls Boys  Future: is This Rational?: “One of the projects of student union was to create a school newspaper… Steve knew that I want to be a journalist… then he invited me and I accepted.” (girl, 16, School Parliament Program)  Future: is This Rational?:“ I want to be a designer… so I can learn with graffiti, it means a huge motivation.” (boy, 16, writer)  Rational: “If It is political, I like it. I want to participate.” (boy, 15, youth political party)  “Everyone has its role. […] I think that If I keep my mind open I can make a profit of that.” (boy, 17, School Parliament Program)  Difficulties: “I am like my father regarding politics. He has told me: you can have an interest in politics, but you shouldn’t join a political party.” (boy, 21. School Parliament Program)
  9. 9. What makes them participate either in the political or in news media? Girls Boys  School Journalism: “Now in school we barely have time or desire to discuss our ideas. The newspaper gave each one of us the opportunity to talk about everything. For example, I write something and, if someone doesn't agree, can write back and give his opinion. We can know each other better.” (girl, 14, low income area)  School Journalism: “There is always a space for me, for a column of my own. In the first edition of the newspaper, I made an article about the school in relation to society and country.” (boy, 17, from a rich area and School Parliament Program)
  10. 10. What makes them participate either in the political or in news media? Girls Boys  Facebook: “I usually post some news on Facebook and I also read news on Facebook. Its a source of information.” (girl, 18, political party)  News outside school and self Internet: “I make some news to the youth political party blog. Its not a personal blog, its a political one […] but we are free to write.” (girl, 15, political party)  Facebook: “Being proactive and put news on Facebook. Some days ago, I did it [gay marriage] . For tree hours I answered on comments. There was an online debate with my friends on Facebook. And we also scheduled a meeting at a coffee shop to discuss more!” (Boy, 18, youth political party)  News outside school and self Internet: “It is a column panel [where he writes the weekly article], where young people from the main political parties write. I write several times […]. It is a short column. This forces me to keep updated with the news and read the news.” (boy, 18, youth political party)
  11. 11. Who are the interviewees that produce blogs, have personal pages or accounts in MySpace?  Nine interviewees: MySpace, personal webpage or blog.  Regarding internet participation: for instance, MySpace it’s a place to show their cultural work, mostly for business proposals. The other investments in media production are more related to the need to demonstrate their ideas, either personal either political.  Parents 4 year-9 year school grade: one boy political blog; one boy non political blog, one girl non political blog; one MySpace (have less different types of participation either gradations of participation).  Parents with medium or higher education: political blogs.
  12. 12. Who are the interviewees that produce blogs, have personal pages or accounts in MySpace?  “In my first blog I used to share my music, but I knew that no one wanted to access to the blog. Now I have another one to speak about preoccupying situations.” (boy, 18, youth political party)  “My blog was prepared at school. We had to learn how to make a blog. I wrote about environmental issues, I used videos, games…” (boy, 17, low income area)  “Music, I like what I produce. I follow my blog [its a MySpace webpage], to know who follow me. And, after that, I ask people If they liked my music.” (boy, 17, MC)
  13. 13. What linkages can we find in relation to family and peer discussions and conversations regarding to participation?  Family and peer discussions are among the most positive factors of participation, although family discussions and contexts are also among the most important motives of dissuasion.  Family talk:  Sharing household opinions (politics)  No gender differences regarding family and parents conversations; but girls referred more to these type of conversations with both parents.  Differences in talking habits with one of the parents: A – Mother in talking about politics: single families (living with mother). B – Talking about dangers, looking to news to advice about dangerous habits. C – Fathers: more knowledgeable about politics and news (sons and daughters).  Peer talk:  difficulties in family, competition, groups with strong leaders.
  14. 14. Parents  A – “Me and my mother, we have really big discussions about news [...] we talk about politics and ideology […]. And she keeps me update!” (Boy, 17, from a rich area and School Parliament Program) “I've talked more before than I talk now about the news with my mother. Usually we talk to achieve a common opinion.” (boy, 15, low income area)  B - “I watch news with my mother and my brother. We comment on that, my mother talks about dangers. She says: you should notice this!. A few days ago, we spoke about swimming pools dangers, she said: Don't jump like that. My mother alert me and my brother.” (girl, 15, low income)  C- “My mother watch television and make zapping; my father watch the news at night and sometimes calls me. At breakfast time, my dad calls my attention to a subject, and I say: Really?! And afterwards I will go to the internet to search on the subject, so that I can better talk to him.” (girl, 15, youth political party) “I sit on the sofa watching the news, my mother is in the kitchen, my father comes late, my brother also watch news. We discuss, sometimes we're not looking at television, but we are aware of what's going on there.” (boy, 16, writer)
  15. 15. Friends  “My opinion is important at school and within my friends group, at home it’s more difficult…” (girl, 16, school newspapers)  “My opinion… In family matters clearly, and at political party and within other groups. Collective discussion it’s the most important and there must be a minimum of consensus. In my school... In general I don't know, but at students union, for sure.” (girl, 17, youth political party)  “If I want to discuss civic and political issues, I can’t talk to someone that know nothing about it. I have to check my friends list to decide who’s the best one to talk with. I have more common things with these friends.” (boy, 17, from a rich area and School Parliament Program)
  16. 16. Final notes  Early results show that emotional aspects are important regarding the promise of participation and that residual rational aspects referred by the interviewees are much more related to conventional ideas of participation.  Regarding internet participation, for instance in MySpace, this is a place to show their cultural work, mostly for business proposals. The other investments in media production are more related to the need to demonstrate their ideas, either personal either political.  Family and peer discussions are among the most positive factors of participation, although family discussions and contexts are also among the most important motives of dissuasion.
  17. 17. References  Coleman, Stephen (2004). "WHOSE CONVERSATION? Engaging the Public in Authentic Polylogue." The Political Quarterly.  Dahlgren, Peter (2009). Media and Political Engagement: Citizens, Communication, and Democracy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.  Ferreira, Pedro D. and Menezes, Isabel (27 de Novembro de 2008). Bem-estar e participação cívica e política. OS TEMPOS DA VIDA E AS PERCEPÇÕES DE BEM-ESTAR EM 23 PAÍSES EUROPEUS/X SEMINÁRIO de Apresentação de Resultados do European Social Survey 2006. Lisboa.  Menezes, Isabel (2005). Evolução da Cidadania em Portugal. 3.º Encontro de Investigação e Formação "Educação para a Cidadania e Culturas de Formação”, Lisboa.  Mouffe, Chantal (2005). On the Political (Thinking in Action). Londres e Nova Iorque, Routledge.  Ponte, C. (forthcoming 2011). "Uma geração digital? A influência familiar na experiência mediática de adolescentes." Sociologia - Problemas e práticas. Lisboa: CIESb.  Zoonen, Liesbet van (2004). "Imagining the Fan Democracy." European Journal of Communication 19(1): 39-52.  Zoonen, Liesbet van, Muller, Floris, et al. (2007). "Dr. Phil Meets the Candidates: How Family Life and Personal Experience Produce Political Discussions." Critical Studies in Media Communication 24 (4): 322-338.
  18. 18. Maria José Brites britesmariajose@gmail.com FCT/CIMJ and ULP http://digital_inclusion.up.pt/index_files/Page420.htm Thank you!

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