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Talking Politics and Engaging Politics: An Examination of the Interactive Relationships Between Structural Features of Political Talk and Discussion Engagement
Communication Research (2005)
  • Ann E Williams, Georgia State University
This study takes a process-oriented approach to understand the current status of political discussion research and identifies discussion engagement—discussion attention and integrative discussion—as an unexplored but important facet of political discussion. As a block, these two variables of discussion engagement independently accounted for significant variance in two criterion variables of political engagement, political knowledge and political participation, after controlling for not only a host of demographic, attitudinal, and media use variables but also three most researched structural features of political discussion—network size, discussion frequency, and network heterogeneity. In addition, the study analyzes the interplay between various attributes of political discussion in an attempt to untangle the dynamic relationships among features of political discussion in politics. Findings suggest that whether network size and heterogeneity mobilize or demobilize citizens may depend on whether they are attentively and frequently discussing political issues with others.
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