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Young People, Social Media, and Political Participation. The Limits of Discursive (In)Civility in the Kenyan Context

  • Martin N. NdlelaEmail author
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Abstract

The growing availability of low-cost smartphone devices and the affordable rates of data connectivity mean that more and more young people in Africa have access to mobile telephones. With these visible changes, there is an optimistic view that social media will play a central role in addressing a range of social issues by liberating, empowering, and enabling participation and engagement in political issues. However, the influence of social media on political engagement is determined by the discursive opportunity structures afforded by the context. This chapter examines the young people’s participation in the political digital public sphere in the Kenyan context. It argues that the political and cultural opportunity structures in Kenya create their own set of unequal participatory mechanisms that perpetuate a digital divide.

Keywords

Social media Informal social control Digital public sphere Political participation Digital divide Discursive civility 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Inland Norway University of Applied SciencesElverumNorway
  2. 2.Department of Strategic CommunicationUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa

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