CivicWeb - Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation


CMCS was a partner in the project "CivicWeb - Young people, the Internet and Civic Participation" (2004-2009). The project, which was funded by the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme, analyzed the potential contribution of the internet to promoting civic engagement and participation among young people (aged 15-25). It focused specifically on the range of youth-oriented civic sites now emerging on the web.

The research examined three key dimensions of this phenomenon:

  1. The production of online civic content, including the motivations, working practices and economic models of the producers (primarily moderators and web workers).
  2. The nature and characteristics of the sites, in terms of their content and formal features (design, mode of address, structure), and the extent to which they invite active participation among their users.
  3. The uses and interpretations made of such sites by different social groups of young people, and the relationship between this online activity and their civic participation 'offline'.

The project sought to assess how these developments vary across the different political cultures of seven European member states; and their implications for intergenerational relations, both at a 'macro' level and at the 'micro' level of family relationships. The research used both quantitative and qualitative methods; and sought to identify instances of 'good practice' that can inform practitioners and policy-makers in relevant fields.