Stoking the Fires of Participation: Extending the Gamson Hypothesis on Social Media Use and Elite-challenging Political Engagement

Xinzhi ZHANG*, Wan Ying Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examines the conditional and differential effects of social media use on elite-challenging political participation, such as petitions, demonstrations, and protests. It applies the Gamson hypothesis (i.e., a combination of high internal political efficacy and low political trust creates optimal conditions for political mobilization) and extends the differential political implications of new media. This study demonstrates how two types of social media use (i.e., capital-enhancing use and recreational use) and the trust-efficacy typology jointly affect political participation, with empirical reference to three Asian societies (i.e., mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan). Results from a comparative survey echoed previous literature indicating that capital-enhancing social media use facilitated political engagement, whereas recreational use might dampen engagement. The Gamson hypothesis was supported in the Taiwan sample: Dissidents who had high political efficacy and low political trust were more politically active, and for these people, capital-enhancing social media had a stronger political impact. In mainland China, the recreational use of social media had a stronger political implication for Assureds, who were politically self-efficacious and had stronger political trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Gamson hypothesis
  • Political efficacy
  • Political participation
  • Political trust
  • Social media

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