The Political Voices of Generation Z  book cover
1st Edition

The Political Voices of Generation Z

ISBN 9780367769055
Published September 28, 2021 by Routledge
318 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores political expression of members of Generation Z old enough to vote in 2018 and 2020 on issues and movements including MeToo, Supreme Court nominations, March for Our Lives, immigration and family separation, and Black Lives Matter. Since generational dividing lines blur, we study 18 to 25-year-olds, capturing the oldest members of Generation Z along with the youngest Millennials. They share similarities both in their place in the life cycle and experiences of potentially defining events. Through examining some movements led by young adults and others led by older generations, as well as issues with varying salience, core theories are tested in multiple contexts, showing that when young adults protest or post about movements they align with, they become mobilized to participate in other ways, too, including contacting elected officials, which heightens the likelihood of their voices being heard in the halls of power.Perfect for students and courses in a variety of departments at all levels, the book is also aimed at  readers curious about contemporary events and emerging political actors.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables


Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Young Adult Political Expression Deserves a Fresh Look

Part I: Posting, Protesting, and Civic Engagement: Causes and Movements that Mobilized

Chapter 2: The MeToo Movement: How an Online Social Movement Sparked Civic Engagement

Chapter 3: Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett: How Controversial Supreme Court

Nominations Provided Opportunities to Get Involved

Chapter 4: School Shootings: How Gun Violence Encouraged Civic Involvement

Chapter 5: Immigration and Family Separation: When Political Expression Fails to Expand Participation

Chapter 6: Black Lives Matter: How a Surging Movement Engaged Young People in 2020

Part II: Moving From the Outside In: The Link Between Posting and Protesting and Contacting Elected Officials

Chapter 7: Messages Received? Examining the Link between Young Adults Posting Political Views

Online and Sharing Views with Elected Officials

Chapter 8: Discontent Heard? Examining the Link between Young Adults Engaging in Protests and Sharing Views with Elected Officials

Chapter 9: Conclusion: Assessing Young Adult Political Power

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Laurie L. Rice is Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her research interests include political communication, the presidency, elections, social media, and civic engagement. She is co-author of Web 2.0 and the Political Mobilization of College Students and co-editor of American Political Parties Under Pressure. Her work has appeared in journals such as Presidential Studies Quarterly, Social Science Computer Review, and Journal of Information Technology and Politics. She provides expertise to regional, national, and international media on on elections, social media, and the presidency and has written pieces for The Hill, The Huffington Post, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Kenneth W. Moffett is Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His research interests lie in American politics and policy. He is coauthor of Web 2.0 and the Political Mobilization of College Students, and specializes in American politics and policy. His work has appeared in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Social Science Computer Review, Party Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Congress and the Presidency, and other outlets. He has also written essays that have appeared in The Hill, The Huffington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog.


Praise for The Political Voices of Generation Z

"In this meticulously researched book, Rice and Moffett firmly challenge the view that young Americans are politically disengaged by charting how Generation Z has found its political voice amidst rapid technological change and the political upheaval of the Trump presidency. This book not only explores how young people participated in breakout movements such as March for Our Lives, Black Lives Matter, and #MeToo, but it also shows how this generation moves deftly between voicing opinions on social media and engaging with policy-makers, marking online political expression as a key conduit for political socialization and impactful engagement. Given Generation Z’s surging participation and political realignment along age rather than ideological fault lines on long-term issues such as the climate crisis, this book is essential reading to understand the future of American politics."

--Filippo Trevisan, American University

"The Political Voices of Generation Z provides a much-needed examination of the issues that sparked youth political engagement resulting in the highest levels of political activism the U.S. has seen in decades. Rejecting the simplistic notion that youth political engagement was merely a reaction to the Trump presidency, the authors explore the relationship between online activity and offline civic engagement, providing a compelling narrative of the ways that key issues caused young people to find their own political voice. This book sheds new light on the headline issues shaping youth political engagement, providing new 2018 and 2020 data to better understand the factors that shape youth engagement. The authors combine a careful consideration of various theoretical perspectives with empirical analysis to help readers understand the dynamics of young adult political behavior – a phenomenon that will shape our collective future for many years to come."

--Elizabeth A. Bennion, Indiana University--South Bend