Sense of Community and Political Mobilization in Virtual Communities: The Role of Dispositional and Situational Variables

Kevin Y Wang


This paper explores the psychological processes that connect virtual communities to political behavior. Drawing on previous findings in political psychology, I argue that the psychological sense of community may be an important mechanism that dictates people’s behavioral responses toward incoming information or mobilization pressure in the online environment. I then discuss the role of different dispositional and situational variables in: a) contributing to the formation of sense of community in the virtual world, and b) serving as potential moderators to influence the strength of virtual sense of community and its subsequent impact on individuals’ political behavior. Finally, I consider the methodological approaches that may be used as well as the theoretical implications for future research in this area.


Virtual community; Sense of community; Political participation

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