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Nils Gustafsson (2020)

Nils Gustafsson

elite networks, political communication & social media

Nils Gustafsson (2020)

New Hopes for Democracy or a Pirated Elite? Swedish Social Media Users and Political Mobilisation.


  • Nils Gustafsson

Summary, in English

In this study, a group of Swedish social media users – politically active as well as “unpolitical” users – are interviewed in focus groups as well as individually about their attitudes towards online political participation, providing a deeper, more informed view of how social media participation works. Sweden, with its high levels of voluntary participation and with an avant-garde position in Internet, broadband and social media penetration, could indeed function as a most-likely case for studying whether social media has any positive effects on participation. The participants in the study are well-educated, young and comfortable using the Internet, further increasing the probability of finding individuals engaged in digital activism.

The results are puzzling: on the one hand, there is an almost unanimous contempt for political campaigns in social media among the participants. On the other hand, almost all of the participants are engaging with politics in social media in various ways. The article concludes in arguing that intensive methods must be used in order to gain a richer understanding of the political behaviour of citizens online.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation








  • Political Science


  • Web 2.0
  • political mobilisation
  • social network sites
  • political participation
  • social media

Conference name

Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting

Conference date

2010-04-01 - 2010-04-03

Conference place

San Francisco, United States




  • Viral politik. Politisk mobilisering i sociala medier