University of Miami Civic Engagement Essay

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This assignment corresponds with and serves as a study guide for Chapters 1-4 in Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas. As you read these chapters, you will encounter many key terms and concepts that are important for the study of civic engagement. Synthesize these themes using this study guide as you proceed through the text.

In section 1 of this assignment, define the terms below in your own words. Some of them have clear definitions in the chapters, but others will require some interpretation. I have included page numbers for your reference, but these concepts are discussed throughout the chapters.

In section 2, respond to the provided discussion prompts.

Section 1: Key Terms and Concepts

  • Public sphere (p. 5)
  • Counterpublics (p. 5)
  • Networked public sphere (p. 6)
  • Networked social movements (p. 6)
  • Homophily (p. 9)
  • Pluralistic ignorance (p. 25)
  • Tactical freeze (p. 71, 77)
  • Network internalities (p. 75-76)
  • Network externatlities (p. 75-76)

Section 2: Discussion Prompts

  1. Tufekci notes that one of the issues with the internet is that “there is too much information, some of it false, and there is little guidance for sorting through it. Even when important and correct information is available, making sure that this correct information spreads from the corner where it originates to the rest of the network is not easy or automatic” (p. 39). This brings up questions about validating information and defining credibility. What are your own approaches for validating the credibility of an information source? How do you decide if a source (or the information provided) in invalid? And, why are these questions vital for civic engagement?
  2. Tufekci points to differences in generational approaches to engagement (p. 85). This relates to our discussion board this week. What role do you think generational differences and similarities play in social movements? How do you think the “culture of protest” varies through this distinction?
  3. What is horizontalism, and why is it important?
  4. Tufekci asks a broad but complex question: Why do people protest in the first place? (p. 86). Based on the discussion in Chapter 4, what answer can you offer for this question?


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