Revisiting Hearing the Other Side: Distinct Associations of Social Network Characteristics With Political Discussion and Participation

Sun Kyong (Sunny) Lee, Nathan J. Lindsey, Kyun Soo Kim, William T. Howe


This study extends research on the impact of cross-cutting political discussion on dialogic openness and political participation by considering political network diversity and network sizes of various tie strengths. The study employs a national survey of U.S. citizens (N = 1,001) and finds distinct paths to political participation through political networks’ attributes and political discussions according to network type and size. The study also identifies an interaction between cross-cutting discussion and strong tie political homogeneity on both dialogic openness and political participation. Politically homogeneous strong ties dampen participation when unaccompanied by frequent cross-cutting discussion. The study’s findings contribute to conceptual and empirical distinctions between the sizes of general social networks and the attributes of political networks. The research integrates various theorizations of the process leading to political participation.


political participation, cross-cutting discussion, dialogic openness, tie strength, network size and attributes

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