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A SOCIAL RESOURCE MODEL OF POLITICAL PARTICIPATION:MASS MEDIA USE, SOCIAL CAPITAL, AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

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This dissertation explores the theoretical foundation and empirical significance of the social resource model of political participation, an approach that views political participation as an outcome of individuals? use of social resources created by social connectedness. Building on the decomposition of the concept of ?social capital,? I explicate the mechanisms through which non-political resources?formal membership, social trust, talk and tolerance?function to facilitate political behaviors. In addition, I examine how such social resources enhance or substitute for other resources that are already established as individual-level determinants of political participation, such as formal education or mass media use. I employ three datasets that include measures of social and individual resources with respect to political participation: The Social Capital Benchmark Survey (2000), the National Election Study (2002), and the American Citizen Participation Study (1990). Results show that political (dis)engagement can be meaningfully explained by understanding why some people are better or more poorly able to utilize certain forms of social resources, regardless of or beyond their individual capabilities or options. It is important to note, however, that different forms or dimensions of social relations contribute differently not only to the generation of social resources but also to political mobilization. In addition, this dissertation shows that social resources reinforce the effects of individual capital on political participation. Most of all, the structural and communicative forms of social resources add to the political reservoir of those who are highly educated. The significant interaction effects of television use and social resources support television?s ?time displacement? and ?worldview? explanation of participation inequality. In future research, the nexus where social resources meet individual resources should be the focal point for the study and development of the social resource model of political participation.

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2005-12-15T15:34:42Z

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Media Use; Social Capital; Political Participation; Social Trust; Social/Political Talk; Tolerance

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dissertation or thesis

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