Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Award/Availability

Open Access Thesis

Keywords

Political participation--Sex differences--United States; Facebook (Electronic resource)--Political aspects; Online social networks--Political aspects:

Abstract

Active political participation from the citizenry is essential for a healthy democracy. However, research finds a significant sex gap in political participation, limiting the influence of a substantial group from the political system and democratic representation. This division by sex is further marked by the types of political activities in which males and females engage. Candidates, elected officials, political organizations and voters alike now utilize Facebook as a means to spread political messages and engage the citizenry. Facebook is also a platform dominated by women. Due to women’s position on social media, it is hypothesized that women and men participate at comparable rates on Facebook, as it mediates problems of access women have in order to engage politically. At the same time, the Internet is a largely unregulated medium on which conflicts and disagreement often arise. Since women engage in conflict avoidance at higher rates than men, it is also hypothesized that women who report experience conflict on Facebook will engage in less political participation on the platform. In order to test these hypotheses, a series of ordinary least squares regression models and logistic regression models explain the relationship between sex, conflict and other independent variables on Facebook participation and offline participation. Results show that although sex is not a significant predictor of political participation on Facebook or offline in most cases, the interaction term between sex and conflict is significant for both forms of participation. This research suggests the need for further investigation of the influence of conflict and issues of safety with sex and political participation.

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Department of Political Science

First Advisor

Justin Holmes, Chair

Date Original

7-2016

Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 65 pages)

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

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