Skip to main content
Palgrave Macmillan

Young People's Civic Identity in the Digital Age

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Focuses on experiences of young people living in the US at a unique time in the nation’s democratic history
  • Highlights the changing nature of youth civic and political engagement
  • Provides a call to action for parents, educators, and policymakers to reinvigorate civic education for the digital age

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Young People and Politics (PSYPP)

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this book

eBook USD 16.99 USD 79.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book USD 16.99 USD 99.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access

Licence this eBook for your library

Institutional subscriptions

Table of contents (6 chapters)


About this book

This book explores young people’s civic experiences in contemporary American society, and how they navigate the political world in an era defined by digital media. Drawing on the experiences of young people before they have reached voting age, the book provides vital perspectives on citizenship and civic engagement of a part of the population that is often overlooked. The author engages with the tensions young people encounter in their everyday personal and civic lives, particularly in their understanding and experience of civic identity in ways that are shaped by society’s (mis)perceptions of youth. The book introduces a new framework of civic identity that has been directly informed by the lived civic experiences of young people themselves. The findings will be of great interest to researchers and students working in political science, sociology, youth studies, education studies, and media studies, as well as policy-makers, practitioners, and parents of young people.


“This book is a rich, nuanced, and thoughtful study of how American youth develop their civic values and capacities in the age of social media.” (Peter Levine, Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University, USA)

“Relying on richly detailed interviews, this thought-provoking book provides compelling insights into young people’s understandings of citizenship and civic engagement in the digital age. Its most significant contribution is to remind us that neither digital nor civic skills are inherent at birth. Instead, if we wish to capitalise on the energy and determination of all our young people, we need to provide an education that deliberately cultivates both skill-sets together.” (Victoria Nash, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK)

“Congratulations to Julianne Viola for providing a detailed and insightful portrait of youth civic identity in a time of massive transformation in the ways politics are practiced. The book unpacks youths’ perspectives on their civic engagement, demonstrates that participation varies across groups, and furthers the kind of foundational understanding that can help educators and parents think well about supports for youth voice and influence.” (Joseph Kahne, Dutton Presidential Chair for Education Policy and Politics, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside, USA)

“Contemporary democracies are confronted by significant domestic and global challenges, but governments often lack the support of citizens - especially the young – as they seek to develop plans to resolve these matters. Julianne Viola’s excellent new book is a must read for all who are interested in how to strengthen the connections between young people and democratic institutions and processes.” (Matt Henn, School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, UK)

“In its innovative focus on the voices of young people regarding their civic engagement, this timely book addresses one of the most urgent issues of the day. Avoiding simplistic generalisations about young people’s uses of new technologies, Julianne Viola’s fascinating findings should encourage the adult world to pay serious attention to young people’s understandings of civic matters." (Chris Davies, Emeritus Fellow, Kellog College, University of Oxford, UK, and co-author of Teenagers and Technology (with R. Eynon, 2013))

“Julianne Viola provides a timely and nuanced exploration of how young people in the United States understand and realise political citizenship and civic engagement in the digital age. Her preparedness to foreground the voices of young Americans is refreshing and illuminating. The book offers original insights into how new technologies and emerging digital civic spaces inform and shape youth civic identities and participation. This is essential reading for anyone seeking to better understand the attitudes and experiences of young citizens in America today.” (Andrew Mycock, Reader in Politics, University of Huddersfield, UK)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship, Imperial College London, London, UK

    Julianne K. Viola

About the author

Julianne K. Viola is a social scientist investigating youth political engagement in a contemporary society characterised by technology use. She has written for The Conversation and has appeared on the BBC World Service. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a doctorate from the University of Oxford.

Bibliographic Information

Publish with us