Research Output
Investigating the online and offline contexts of day-to-day democracy as participation spaces.
  Citizen-led participation in democracy is explored through studying the online and offline spaces where people work together to influence those in power and improve their communities. The concept of a participation space is introduced to describe these contexts. The spatial theme guides the research, from literature, through methodology, to findings. Case studies of three community/activist groups provide the data to identify participation spaces and model these as Socio-Technical Interaction Networks (STINs) (Kling, McKim, & King, 2003). These participation spaces include social media, email, and blogs, as well as paper media and offline spaces, such as rooms. The STIN models of these participation spaces reveal that the characteristics which influence their use for participation are the same for online and offline spaces. These can be understood in terms of spatial characteristics: the spaces’ perceived boundaries and inhabitants, combined with ownership and access, including costs. As well as recording the roles of these spatial characteristics, the participation space models map the day-to-day activities of participation. Collating these activities reveals that participation primarily takes the form of communication: organising and increasing solidarity, sharing information, encouraging involvement, and trying to influence events. The models also reveal that most of these activities are non-public. This sociotechnical study describes the relationship between the activities of local, grassroots democracy and the characteristics of the online and offline spaces where it takes place.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    05 May 2018

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Informa UK Limited

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    Z665 Library Science. Information Science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    020 Library & information sciences

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Taylor-Smith, E., & Smith, C. F. (2019). Investigating the online and offline contexts of day-to-day democracy as participation spaces. Information, Communication and Society, 22(13), 1853-1870.



eParticipation, democracy, social media, STIN, assemblage, social informatics

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