‘Volunteering Is Like Any Other Business’: Civic Participation and Social Media

Anne Kaun, Julie Uldam

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The increased influx of refugees in 2015 has led to challenges in transition and destination countries such as Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Volunteer-led initiatives providing urgent relief played a crucial role in meeting the needs of arriving refugees. The work of the volunteers in central stations and transition shelters was mainly organised with the help of Facebook, in terms of both inward and outward communications. This article examines the role of social media for civic participation drawing on Swedish volunteer initiatives that emerged in the context of the migration crisis in 2015 as a case study. Theoretically, this article provides an analytical framework, including power relations, technological affordances, practices and discourses, which helps shed light on the interrelation between social media and civic participation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media & Society
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)2186 –2207
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Civic participation
  • Facebook
  • Refugee crisis
  • Social media
  • Volunteering

Cite this