In this paper we argue that the widespread use of new technologies may contribute to a change in political attitudes in democracies in industrialized developed countries. The interactivity and cross-cutting nature of new technologies means they allow easier access to information. This can stimulate interest, encourage a sense of political effectiveness, and a preference for direct democracy. This hypothesis is evaluated using original qualitative and quantitative data collected in Spain. Data drawn from a study on the Internet and political participation are used in conjunction with data from a qualitative study of two focus groups comprising young middle-class citizens, segmented by their level of Internet use. We find Internet users to be clearly more interested in politics and to display higher levels of internal efficacy than nonusers, even after controlling for a variety of sociodemographic and attitudinal factors. The focus groups provided insights into the mechanisms underlying the differences detected between Internet users and nonusers.
- New technologies
- Political attitudes