Introduction: “It’s Better to Light a Candle Than to Fantasize About a Sun”


This introductory chapter begins with two vignettes that illustrate the debates surrounding slacktivism, a pejorative term that refers to low-threshold forms of political engagement online. #Kony2012, a controversial campaign led by the American non-governmental organisation, Invisible Children, illustrates the slacktivist critique and the perceived insignificance of inauthentic online political engagement. This is contrasted with fieldwork conducted by Dennis. Based on a campaign led by the UK political activist group 38 Degrees, he demonstrates the complex interdependency that exists between digital micro-activism and tried-and-tested activist repertoires. Dennis then outlines key contributions of this book, including the continuum of participation model, the organisational management of digital micro-activism, and a typology of citizen roles in social media environments. The chapter concludes with an outline of the book.

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