Youth Political Talk in the Changing Media Environment: A Cross-National Typology


Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Pablo J. Boczkowski, Kaori Hayashi, Eugenia Mitchelstein, and Mikko Villi. Submitted. “Youth Political Talk in the Changing Media Environment: A Cross-National Typology.” The International Journal of Press/Politics, Pp. 19401612211055686.


While political communication scholarship has long underscored the importance of political talk—casual conversations about news and politics that occur in everyday situations—as a way for citizens to clarify their opinions and as a precursor for political engagement, much of this literature tends to depict political talk as uncomfortable and difficult for citizens. Yet, this focus on the challenging aspects of political talk has been informed predominantly by the US context. To what extent may a different picture emerge when looking across different cultural contexts? And how are these dynamics shaped by the affordances of the multi-platform social media environment? This paper explores these questions through a unique dataset of 122 qualitative interviews conducted between 2016 and 2019 with young people (ages 18–29) from five countries: Argentina, Finland, Israel, Japan, and the United States. Rather than solidifying the avoidance of controversial political talk as the key strategy at the disposal of young people, our findings point at a five-pronged typology of young people, with each type representing a different approach toward political talk. Our typology thus contributes to a more comprehensive and nuanced picture of various approaches towards political talk employed by young people across different countries and in relation to different digital media affordances.