The impact of digital media on citizenship from a global perspective

Laia Jorba, Bruce Bimber

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    16 Citations (Scopus)


    © Cambridge University Press 2012. Introduction As new technologies are evolving worldwide, many theoretical challenges have arisen that surpass the frameworks used so far to pose questions about digital media and citizens’ lives. There is a great need for broader perspectives to understand what is common and what is different in emerging political practices across nations. That need motivates this chapter, which starts from the observation that a great deal of research on digital media and politics since the late 1990s has centered on one of two sets of issues. In the United States and the United Kingdom, and to some extent in other European countries, a central concern has been whether the use of digital media increases political participation or civic engagement. In research on authoritarian regimes, however, questions of censorship and state control over media have dominated the discussion. Although these two frameworks for analysis have been productive, they are ultimately quite limited in addressing the broad range of changes in the character of citizenship that is underway because of digital media. The transformations associated with digital media extend well beyond how many people vote or how much content is circumscribed by state control. In many nations, both democratic and nondemocratic, the changes are similar or overlapping or common, whereas in others they differ because of political institutions and culture, or other aspects of political context, and as a result of different stages of internet diffusion. The goal of this chapter is to examine some common theoretical issues in digital media across nations as a framework for understanding citizenship practices in a broader way. We focus on five issues: political attitudes, political practices, sociality of politics, political voice, and transnational allegiance. In each, we account for some commonalities and differences across regimes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDigital Media and Political Engagement Worldwide: A Comparative Study
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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