Performing Citizenship Online: Identity, Subactivism and Participation


  • Giovanna Mascheroni Department of Sociology Università Cattolica del S. Cuore Milano Italy



civic cultures, convergence culture, subactivism, web 2.0, social network sites


This paper calls for the adoption of a culturalist approach to the study of online participation. Notions of such as “civic cultures”, “public connection”, and “subactivism” represent effective theoretical and analytical tools that help grasp the meaning of online grassroots practices which emerge at the crossroads of politics and culture and are rooted in the realm of everyday life. Therefore, online participation is understood as the outcome of broader social changes and changes in the media environment, usually assumed under the labels “web 2.0” and “convergence culture”, co-determining each other. Drawing on empirical evidence from three interrelated research projects focused primarily on young people, the paper shows how participatory uses are unevenly distributed among social network users and acquire different meanings depending on the civic cultures and the “convergent media ecology” inhabited by the individuals.

Author Biography

Giovanna Mascheroni, Department of Sociology Università Cattolica del S. Cuore Milano Italy

Giovanna holds a PhD in Sociology and Methodology for Social Research, and is a Lecturer in Sociology of Communication and Culture in the Department of Sociology, Università Cattolica, Milano. She is the coordinator of the Net Children Go Mobile project (, funded by the Safer Internet Programme. Since 2007 she has been the national contact of the EU Kids Online project (, also funded by the Safer Internet Programme and coordinated by Sonia Livingstone, LSE. She is the local coordinator of the FIRB project "Building inclusive societies and a global Europe online: Political information and participation on social media in comparative perspective" coordinated by Cristian Vaccari. She is senior researcher at OssCom, a research centre on media and communication based at Università Cattolica.




How to Cite

Mascheroni, G. (2013). Performing Citizenship Online: Identity, Subactivism and Participation. Observatorio (OBS*), 7(2).