The Role of Novel Citizenship Norms in Signing and Sharing Online Petitions

Michael Vaughan, Ariadne Vromen, Pablo Porten-Chee, Darren Halpin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Ideas about what makes a 'good citizen' continue to evolve alongside the digitalisation of political participation. We examine these interrelated trends through an in-depth analysis of the normative basis for contemporary online petitioning. This article uses original survey data in Australia and Germany to confirm the emergence of distinctive 'contribution' citizenship norms which emphasise the importance of sharing content through networked communications infrastructures. We then examine the relationship between these novel citizenship norms and online petitioning, differentiating online petitioning along two dimensions of mode (signing versus sharing) and frequency. First, we find ‘contribution’ norms are more associated with sharing online petitions than signing them. Second, ‘contribution’ norms are more associated with high-frequency sharing and signing, as opposed to more casual instances of participation. In combination, these findings show that contribution norms are distinctively associated with more intensive forms of online petitioning (e.g. frequent sharing), while more casual forms (such as casual signing) are supported by a more diverse range of normative orientations. We conclude that the way citizens engage with online petitions reflects, in part, their normative orientation to contributing information towards networked communication infrastructures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    JournalPolitical Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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