Political individualization: New media as an escape from family control over political behavior

Calenda, D., & Meijer, A.
Information, Communication & Society, 14 (S. 660–683).

In this paper, the authors define political individualization as a form of networked individualism. This process consists of two components: social individualization and political networking. Social individualization means that people are becoming less strongly connected to traditional communities and experiencing highly differentiated sociability. Political networking refers to the shift from stable connections to formal political movements to dynamic connections to issue networks. This article attempts to investigate whether this process of political individualization is positively related to the use of new media such as the Internet and mobile telephones. There could be two arguments why these two would be positively related. First, the use of new media drives political individualization; the use of new media stimulates individualization since it creates opportunities for individuals to create social connections outside of existing communities. New media also facilitate the formation of political networks. Second, the use of new media and political individualization are both manifestations of a broader process of societal change. The process of modernization results in increasing autonomy of individuals and growing use of technology. This paper does not test these two explanations but rather investigates whether the grounds for both arguments actually exist. The authors have formulated the following research question: Do the new media create opportunities for political individualization and how are these opportunities used? Data from an international survey (918 web questionnaires) of young people in two European cities – Florence and Utrecht – has been used to investigate the research question.

Zitation (APA)

Calenda, D., & Meijer, A. (2011). Political individualization: New media as an escape from family control over political behavior. Information, Communication & Society, 14, 660–683.