Bridging the Gap Between Micro and Macro Forms of Engagement: Three Emerging Trends in Research on Audience Participation

  • Maria Francesca MurruEmail author
  • Inês Amaral
  • Maria José Brites
  • Gilda Seddighi


This chapter aims to make sense of current intersections between audiences’ micro- and macro acts of political engagement. First, we note the dynamics that are at work in the renewed field of micro-politics, made of a daily-life engagement with civic meanings and practice, and with the relentless transformation of mediated civic cultures. Second, we consider the impact that the micro has on macro-politics like organised and institutionalised collective action. The aim of this contribution is to analyse the kind of dis/connections which are supposed to interlace the ordinary politics of media practices with the macro processes of democratic activism.


  1. Alexander, J. C., & Giesen, B. (1987). From reduction to linkage: The long view of the micro-macro debate. In J. C. Alexander, B. Giesen, R. Munch, & N. J. Smelser (Eds.), The micro-macro link (pp. 337–355). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Amaral, I. (2016). Redes sociais: Sociabilidades emergentes [Social networks: Emergent sociabilities]. Covilhã: Editora LabCom.IFP.Google Scholar
  3. Baack, S. (2015). Datafication and empowerment: How the open data movement re-articulates notions of democracy, participation and journalism. Big Data & Society, 2(2).Google Scholar
  4. Bakardjieva, M. (2015). Do clouds have politics? Collective actors in social media land. Information, Communication & Society, 18(8), 983–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes, R. (2013). Understanding the affective investment produced through commenting on Australian alternative journalism website New Matilda. New Media as Society, 17(5), 810–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett, W. L. (2007). Civic learning in changing democracies: Challenges for citizenship and civic education. In P. Dahlgren (Ed.), Young citizens and new media: Learning for democratic participation (pp. 59–77). New York, Milton Park: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2012). The logic of connective action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 739–768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bennett, W. L., Wells, C., & Rank, A. (2009). Young citizens and civic learning: Two paradigms of citizenship in the digital age. Citizenship Studies, 13(2), 105–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Borge, R., & Cardenal, A. S. (2011). Surfing the net: A pathway to participation for the politically uninterested? Policy & Internet, 3(1), 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brites, M. J. (2015). Jovens e culturas cívicas: Por entre formas de consumo noticioso e de participação [Youth and civic cultures: In between forms of news consumption and participation]. Covilhã: Livros LabCom.Google Scholar
  11. Bunz, M., & Meikle, G. (2018). The Internet of things. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  12. Coetzee, L., & Olivrin, G. (2012). Inclusion through the Internet of things. In F. A. Cheein (Ed.), Assistive technologies. InTech. Retrieved from
  13. Costarelli, S. (2007). Intergroup threat and experienced affect: The distinct roles of causal attributions, ingroup identification, and perceived legitimacy of intergroup status. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1481–1491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Couldry, N. (2014). Inaugural: A necessary disenchantment: Myth, agency and injustice in a digital world. The Sociological Review, 62(4), 880–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dahlgren, P., & Álvares, C. (2013). Political participation in an age of mediatisation towards a new research agenda. Javnost, 20(2), 47–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Das, R. (2011). Converging perspectives in audience studies and digital literacies: Youthful interpretations of an online genre. European Journal of Communication, 26(4), 343–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dasgupta, S., Hautea, S., & Hill, B. M. (2017). Youth perspectives on critical data literacies. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 919–930). ACM.Google Scholar
  18. Dewey, J. (1968 [1938]). Expérience et éducation. Paris: A. Colin.Google Scholar
  19. D’Ignazio, C., & Bhargava, R. (2015). Approaches to building big data literacy. Presented at Proceedings of the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange Conference.Google Scholar
  20. Emirbayer, M., & Goldberg, C. A. (2005). Pragmatism, Bourdieu, and collective emotions in contentious politics. Theory and Society, 34(5–6), 469–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Engelken-Jorge, M., Guell, P. I., & del Rio, C. M. (2011). Politics and emotions: The Obama phenomenon. Dorothee Koch: VS Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fotopoulou, A. (2017). Critical data literacy, creative media and social equality research project. Retrieved from
  23. Freire, P. (2010 [1996]). Pedagogia da autonomia: Saberes necessários à prática educativa [Pedagogy of autonomy: Necessary knowledge to the educative practice]. São Paulo: Editora Paz e Terra.Google Scholar
  24. Freire, P., & Macedo, D. (2011). Alfabetização: Leitura do mundo, leitura da palavra [Alphabetization: Reading of the world, reading of the word]. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra.Google Scholar
  25. Funk, S., Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2016). Critical media literacy as transformative pedagogy. In M. N. Yildiz & J. Keengwe (Eds.), Handbook of research on media literacy in the digital age (pp. 1–30). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.Google Scholar
  26. Gerbaudo, P. (2016). Rousing the Facebook crowd: Digital enthusiasm and emotional contagion in the 2011 Protests in Egypt and Spain. International Journal of Communication, 10(20), 254–273.Google Scholar
  27. Goodwin, J., Jasper, J. M., & Polletta, F. (2001). Why emotions matter. In J. Goodwin, J. M. Jasper, & F. Polletta (Eds.), Passionate politics: Emotion and social movements (pp. 1–25). London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1360–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere: An inquiry into a category of bourgeois society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hautea, S., Dasgupta, S., & Hill, B. M. (2017). Youth perspectives on critical data literacies. Presented at CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Denver, CO, USA.
  31. Kahne, J., Middaugh, E., Lee, N. J., & Feezell, J. T. (2012). Youth online activity and exposure to diverse perspectives. New Media & Society, 14(3), 492–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Karpf, D. (2016). Analytic activism: Digital listening and the new political strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kavada, A. (2015). Social media as conversation: A manifesto. Social Media + Society, 1(1).Google Scholar
  34. Kavada, A. (2016). Social movements and political agency in the digital age: A communication approach. Media and Communication, 4(4), 8–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2017). Critical media literacy is not an option. Learn Inquiry, 1(1), 59–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kennedy, H., & Moss, G. (2015). Known or knowing publics? Social media data mining and the question of public agency. Big Data & Society, 2(2), 1–11.Google Scholar
  37. Kidd, D., & McIntosh, K. (2016). Social media and social movements. Sociology Compass, 10(9), 785–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kligler-Vilenchik, N., & Shresthova, S. (2014). Feel that you are doing something: Participatory culture civics. Conjunctions. Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation, 1(1).Google Scholar
  39. Kotilainen, S., & Rantala, L. (2009). From seekers to activists. Information, Communication & Society, 12(5), 658–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Livingstone, S. (1998). Audience research at the crossroads. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 1(2), 193–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Livingstone, S. (2008). Engaging with media—A matter of literacy? Communication, Culture & Critique, 1(1), 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lunt, P., & Livingstone, S. (2013). Media studies’ fascination with the concept of the public sphere: Critical reflections and emerging debates. Media, Culture and Society, 35(1), 87–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mansell, R. (2012). Imagining the Internet: Communication, innovation, and governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Micheletti, M. (2003). Shopping with and for virtues. In M. Micheletti (Ed.), Political virtue and shopping: Individuals, consumerism, and collective action (pp. 149–168). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mihailidis, P. (2014). Media literacy and the emerging citizen. New York: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Miller, A. (2006). Watching viewers watch TV: Processing live, breaking, and emotional news in a naturalistic setting. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 83(3), 511–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Murru, M. F., Stehling, M., Amaral, I., & Scarcelli, M. (2016). The civic value of being and audience. Participations, 13(1), 402–421.Google Scholar
  48. Papacharissi, Z., & Oliveira, M. F. (2012). Affective news and networked publics: The rhythms of news storytelling on #egypt. Journal of Communication, 62(2), 266–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schrøder, K. C. (2013). From semiotic resistance to civic agency. In E. Bilandzic, G. Patriarche, & P. J. Traudt (Eds.), The social use of media (pp. 179–200). Bristol: Intellect.Google Scholar
  50. Seigworth, G. J., & Gregg, M. (2010). An inventory of shimmers. In M. Gregg & G. J. Seigworth (Eds.), The affect theory reader (pp. 1–28). Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Selander, L., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (2016). Digital action repertoires and transforming a social movement organization. MIS Quarterly, 40(2), 331–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tomkins, S. (1962). Affect, imagery, and consciousness: The positive affects. New York: Springer Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  53. Tygel, A. F., & Kirsch, R. (2016). Contributions of Paulo Freire to a critical data literacy: A popular education approach. The Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3), 108–121.Google Scholar
  54. van Dijck, J. (2014). Datafication, dataism and dataveillance: Big Data between scientific paradigm and ideology. Surveillance & Society, 12(2), 197–208.Google Scholar
  55. Wetherell, M. (2012). Affect and emotion: A new social science understanding. Los Angeles, CA, London, New Delhi and Singapore: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Francesca Murru
    • 1
    Email author
  • Inês Amaral
    • 2
  • Maria José Brites
    • 3
  • Gilda Seddighi
    • 4
  1. 1.Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanItaly
  2. 2.University of MinhoBragaPortugal
  3. 3.Universidade Lusófona do PortoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.Western Norway Research Institute (Vestlandsforsking)SogndalNorway

Personalised recommendations