Defining the Good Citizen: Online Conceptions of American Members of the Yahoo! Answers Community

Irit Keynan, Alon Lazar


Educators invest serious effort in bringing their students to adopt the notions of the 'good citizen'. Based on the growing impact of informal learning through social media, especially when asking for online help in civic education assignments, previous studies called for investigating the role of online platforms as arenas of informal civic education. This paper takes up this gauntlet, analyzing inputs of American members of the Yahoo! Answers online community in response to students' queries concerning the definition of the 'good citizen'. The results show a passive and conformist concept of the 'good citizen' that corresponds with previous studies' findings about this image in educational programs and among pre-service teachers, contrary to formal statements regarding the goal of civic education. The paper suggests that there is a feedback loop between offline and online platforms concerning the 'good citizen', which calls for the attention of educators and researches.  

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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