Online technologies excite the public imagination with narratives of democratization.
The Internet is a political medium, borne of democracy, but is it democratizing? Late modern democracies are characterized by civic apathy, public skepticism, disillusionment with politics, and general disinterest in conventional political process. And yet, public interest in blogging, online news, net-based activism, collaborative news filtering, and online networking reveal an electorate that is not disinterested, but rather, fatigued with political conventions of the mainstream. This book examines how online digital media shape and are shaped by contemporary democracies, by addressing the following issues: * How do online technologies remake how we function as citizens in contemporary democracies? * What happens to our understanding of public and private as digitalized democracies converge technologies, spaces and practices? * How do citizens of today understand and practice their civic responsibilities, and how do they compare to citizens of the past?* How do discourses of globalization, commercialization and convergence inform audience/producer, citizen/consumer, personal/political, public/private roles individuals must take on? * Are resulting political behaviors atomized or collective? * Is there a public sphere anymore, and if not, what model of civic engagement expresses current tendencies and tensions best?
Students and scholars of media studies, political science, and critical theory will find this to be a fresh engagement with some of the most important questions facing democracies today.