Virtual Civil Society: The New Frontier of Social Capital?

Miki Kittilson, Russell J. Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Although many scholars agree that social interactions within traditional social groups build social capital, there is less consensus on the benefits of virtual interactions for political engagement. Our research examines how interpersonal social group activity and virtual activity contribute to two dimensions of social capital: citizen norms and political involvement. We rely on data collected in the 2005 Citizenship Involvement in Democracy survey conducted by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. This survey provides unique detail on participation in both social groups and virtual interactions. Our findings suggest that social group activity and virtual interactions both foster many of the same positive aspects of social capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-644
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Internet and politics
  • Political participation
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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