Youth and Political Participation: #YoSoy132 and the Struggle for Freedom of Expression in Mexico
Social networks
civic engagement
participatory democracy
digital activism
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Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Meneses-Rocha, M. E. (María Elena); Ortega-Gutiérrez, E. (Enedina); Urbina-Cortés, G. (Gustavo). "Youth and Political Participation: #YoSoy132 and the Struggle for Freedom of Expression in Mexico". Communication & Society. 30 (1), 2017, 87 - 103
The mobilization of the student movement #YoSoy132 inspired new political and civic participation among young students in the urban context of Mexico City. This study explores the habits and perspectives around political participation, freedom of expression, and the use of social networks among these university students. Based on survey data from two samples, we contrast the relationship between online and offline political practices during the birth of #YoSoy132. For the first sample, we administered a questionnaire to college students who took part in a public demonstration organized by the #YoSoy132 movement just one week before the 2012 Mexican federal election. We collected the second sample via social media online, with a focus on college students from different universities across Mexico City. We compare the similarities and differences across youth participation via the samples In Situ and Online groups. We demonstrate that digital penetration and the presence of a convergent culture are important elements that favor hybrid political and civil participation. Our findings allow us to infer, at least from our samples of college students, that social networks are gaining unprecedented importance in the formation of youth imaginaries when a strong correlation between online and offline practices exists. In the face of widespread accusations of the corruption of mass media in Mexico and systemic threats to freedom of expression, social networks provided an alternative and trustworthy route for expression, dialogue, and mobilization.

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