Mobilization vs. Demobilization Discourses on Social Media

Neta Kligler-Vilenchik*, Maya de Vries Kedem, Daniel Maier, Daniela Stoltenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


While scholarly attention has been devoted to social media’s potential mobilizing function, they may also contribute to demobilization discourses: social communication actively promoting nonvoting. This paper examines discourses around mobilization vs. demobilization in the context of the municipal elections in Jerusalem. As the sweeping majority of East Jerusalem Palestinians have continuously been boycotting Jerusalem’s municipal elections, this is a potent case through which to examine how demobilization functions in action, through social media conversations. Using a mixed-methods analysis of Twitter contents as structured by different languages, our findings show how mobilization and demobilization discourses can co-occur during the same election event. Users of different languages - reflecting different social and political identities - interpret the elections in contrasting ways, with tangible implications for (in)equality in political participation. The study thus contributes theoretically to several domains of political communication, including election studies, local politics, and language fragmentation in online political discourse.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)561-580
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Elections
  • Israel
  • Jerusalem
  • Twitter
  • language
  • local
  • mixedmethods
  • mobilization
  • qualitative analysis
  • social media
  • topic modeling
  • voting


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