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Muslim young people online: "acts of citizenship" in socially networked spaces

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Johns, Amelia

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Abstract This paper reviews the current literature regarding Muslim young people's online social networking and participatory practices with the aim of examining whether these practices open up new spaces of civic engagement and political participation. The paper focuses on the experiences of young Muslims living in western societies, where, since September 11, the ability to assert claims as citizens in the public arena has diminished. The paper draws upon Isin and Nielsen's (2008) "acts of citizenship" to define the online practices of many Muslim youth, for whom the internet provides a space where new performances of citizenship are enacted outside of formal citizenship rights and spaces of participation. These "acts" are evaluated in light of theories which articulate the changing nature of publics and the public sphere in a digital era. The paper will use this conceptual framework in conjunction with the literature review to explore whether virtual, online spaces offer young Muslims an opportunity to create a more inclusive discursive space to interact with co-citizens, engage with social and political issues and assert their citizen rights than is otherwise afforded by formal political structures; a need highlighted by policies which target minority Muslim young people for greater civic participation but which do not reflect the interests and values of Muslim young people.
Keywords adolescent; Internet; Muslim; citizenship; civil rights; media; social participation; citizens' involvement; interaction
Classification Sociology of the Youth, Sociology of Childhood; Interactive, electronic Media
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 71-82
Journal Social Inclusion, 2 (2014) 2
Issue topic Migrant youth, intercultural relations and the challenges of social inclusion
ISSN 2183-2803
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution