Evaluating the role of media in fostering political engagement among young people in the UK: a comparative analysis of social and legacy media coverage of political events and contribution to feelings of political empowerment

Readshaw, P. (2017) Evaluating the role of media in fostering political engagement among young people in the UK: a comparative analysis of social and legacy media coverage of political events and contribution to feelings of political empowerment. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

The following thesis examines the impact of social and legacy media on young people’s political engagement as well as on their attitudes to, feelings towards and beliefs about politics. This was accomplished using a three-tiered design which integrated both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The aim of this design was to ensure that young people were afforded a voice in the ongoing debate around youth apathy.

To this end, a direct comparison of social and legacy media coverage of various case studies was undertaken. This initial comparison was accompanied by a series of interviews using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). The interviews focused on individual engagement with politics and social and legacy media, in order to get a sense of each individuals understanding of their role in British politics as well as the feelings and attitudes towards media and politics more widely.

The three-tiered design concluded with a quantitative questionnaire assessing governmental trust, political efficacy, self-efficacy, and self-esteem by way of a series of standardised measures. From this mixed-methods approach, two main findings arise. Firstly, that social media such as Twitter hold the potential to facilitate political engagement in young people, beyond what is currently achieved by the British legacy media. The second finding suggests that there has been fundamental paradigmatic shift of youth conceptions of politics from what could be considered traditional political behaviours (such as voting and party membership; Strømsnes, 2009) to lifestyle orientated choices (such as boy/buycotts; Copeland, 2014; Gil de Zúñiga, Copeland & Bimber, 2014), mediated by social media. Overall the results of the thesis foster a dualistic understanding of British young people who are simultaneously engaged with and apathetic toward “politics” dependant on how the term is defined.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Media Art and Design
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2018 12:46
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2018 14:30
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17700

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00