Advertisement

Youth, Elections and Social Media: Understanding the Critical (Di)Stance Between Young People and Political Party Messaging

  • Vanessa Malila
  • Noko Pela
Chapter
  • 7 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter examines the interpretations and meaning-making amongst young people at Rhodes University, South Africa, of political party messages during the 2016 local government elections on social media. In addition, the chapter seeks to understand whether youth at Rhodes University actively sought out political party messages on social media or whether the messages they encountered were incidental on their timelines. Finally, the chapter provides an understanding of whether the media messages resonated with the young people and spoke to the issues faced by them in their particular context. Using qualitative research methods and through the lens of Stuart Hall’s models of reception analysis, the chapter uncovers the particular relationship that young people had with political party messages on social media in the 2016 local government elections. It argues that rather than the often-lamented apathetic youth, these young people are actively engaged and highly critical of what they engage with online.

Keywords

Elections Youth Social media Protests Political party messages 

References

  1. Alexander, P. (2010). Rebellion of the poor: South Africa’s service delivery protests—a preliminary analysis. Review of African Political Economy, 37(123), 25–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen, M. A. (2012). A multidimensional model for analyzing employee identification with corporate values: A qualitative reception analysis approach. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 7(2), 209–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Areff, A., & Spies, D. (2017, December 16). Zuma announces free higher education for poor and working class students. News24. Retrieved from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/zuma-announces-free-higher-education-for-poor-and-working-class-students-20171216
  4. Babbie, E., & Mouton, J. (2001). The practice of social research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Booysen, S. (2016). LitNet. Retrieved March 25, 2018, from http://www.litnet.co.za/end-era-farewell-anc-dominance/
  6. Bosch, T. (2017). Twitter activism and youth in South Africa: The case of# RhodesMustFall. Information, Communication & Society, 20(2), 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyce, G. (2010). Youth voices in South Africa: Echoes in the age of hope. South African social attitudes: The second report—reflections on the age of hope, 87–104.Google Scholar
  8. Bratton, M. (2008). Vote buying and violence in Nigerian election campaigns. Electoral Studies, 27(4), 621–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlisle, A., & Macgregor, D. (2016, April 18). Rhodes University reacts to “reference list”. DispatchLive. Retrieved from https://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/2016-04-18-rhodes-university-reacts-to-reference-list/
  10. Curtis, B., & Curtis, C. (2011). Social Research: A practical introduction. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deacon, D., Pickering, M., Golding, P., & Murdock, G. (1999). Researching Communications: A practical guide to methods in media and cultural analysis. New York: Hodder Arnold.Google Scholar
  12. Denzil, M. R., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). The handbook of qualitative research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Essop, R. (2016, January 11). ANC’s biggest election opponent is itself. EyeWitness News. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from http://ewn.co.za/2016/01/11/Malusi-Gigaba-ANCs-biggest-LGEopponent-is-itself
  14. Gosam, L. (2016, October 31). Is Zuma to blame for the decline of the ANC? Rand Daily Mail. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from http http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2016/10/31/is-zuma-to-blame-for-the-decline-of-the-anc
  15. Gush, B. (2015, September 3). BSM invade Highway Africa conference. Grocott’s Mail.Google Scholar
  16. Hall, S. (1980/2003). Encoding/decoding. In T. Miller (Ed.), Critical concepts in media and cultural studies (pp. 43–54). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Hansen, A., Cottle, S., Negrine, R., & Newbold, C. (1998). Mass communication research methods. London: Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harris, A., Wyn, J., & Younes, S. (2010). Beyond apathetic or activist youth: ‘Ordinary’ young people and contemporary forms of participation. Young, 18(1), 9–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Independent Electoral Commission [IEC]. (2016a). Election summary – All ballots. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from http://www.elections.org.za/content/LGEPublicReports/402/Detailed%20Results/National.pdf
  20. Independent Electoral Commission [IEC]. (2016b). Registration statistics as at 01 Jun 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from http://www.elections.org.za/content/Voters-Roll/Registrationstatistics/
  21. Luescher, T., Loader, L., & Mugume, T. (2017). FeesMustFall: An Internet-age student movement in South Africa and the case of the University of the Free State. Politikon, 44(2), 231–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mabweazara, H. M. (2006). An investigation into the popularity of the Zimbabwean tabloid newspaper, uMthunywa: A reception study of Bulawayo readers. MA Thesis, Rhodes University, Grahamstown. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/49241571.pdf
  23. Masiza, B. (2017). Request for RU student body statistics for MA research. [Email] Pela N.T. 15 May.Google Scholar
  24. Maughan, K. (2015, October 24). #FeesMustFall protest reminiscent of 1976 uprising. eNCA. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from https://www.enca.com/south-africa/fee-must-fall-protest-reminiscent-1967uprising
  25. Mbatha, A. (2016, August 11). Real challenge facing ANC: Losing control to DA/EFF of R130bn Metro Budgets. BizNews. Retrieved November 18, 2016, from http://www.biznews.com/undictated/2016/08/11/real-challenge-facing-anc-losing-control-todaeff-of-r130bn-metro-budgets/
  26. Mpofu, S. (2017). Jesus comes to South Africa: Black Twitter and politics in South Africa. Paper presented at SACOMM 2017. Grahamstown: South Africa.Google Scholar
  27. Olifant, N. (2017, September 17). ANC rebels want court to act quickly as they take on mother body. TimesLive. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from https://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2017-08-15-anc-rebels-wantcourt-to-act-quickly-as-they-take-on-mother-body/
  28. Oxlund, B. (2016). # EverythingMustFall: The use of social media and violent protests in the current wave of student riots in South Africa. Anthropology Now, 8(2), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pillay, S. R. (2016). Silence is violence: (Critical) psychology in an era of Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall. South Africa Journal of Psychology, 46(2), 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Qambela, G. (2016). “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle”: Xenophobia in the time of decolonisation, eRhini, 2015. Agenda, 30(2), 35–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. SAHO. (2017). The June 16 Soweto youth uprising. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/june-16-soweto-youth-uprising
  32. Schrøder, K. C. (2000). Making sense of audience discourses: Towards a multidimensional model of mass media reception. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 3(2), 233–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Seddon, D. (2016, June 1). ‘We will not be Silenced’: Rape culture, #RUReferencelist, and the University currently known as Rhodes. Daily Maverick. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2016-06-01-we-will-not-be-silenced-rape-culturerureferencelist-and-the-university-currently-known-as-rhodes/#.Wc3fLvMjHIU

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Malila
    • 1
  • Noko Pela
    • 1
  1. 1.Public Service Accountability MonitorRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations