Media and Political Engagement

Media and Political Engagement : Citizens, Communication and Democracy

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Description

One of the most difficult problems facing Western democracy today is the decline in citizens' political engagement. There are many elements that contribute to this, including fundamental socio-cultural changes. This book summarizes these contexts and situates itself within them, while focusing on the media's key role in shaping the character of civic engagement. In particular, it examines the new interactive electronic media in terms of their civic potential. Looking at the evolution of the media landscape, the book examines key notions such as citizenship, public sphere, agency, identity, deliberation, and practice, and offers a multi-dimensional analytic framework called 'civic cultures'. This framework is then applied to several settings, including television, popular culture, journalism, the EU, and global activism, to illuminate the role of the media in deflecting and enhancing political engagement, as well as in contributing to new forms of political involvement and new understandings of what constitutes the political.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 246 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 17mm | 530g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521821010
  • 9780521821018
  • 2,652,262

Table of contents

1. Democracy in difficult times; 2. Media alternatives; 3. Citizens and agency; 4. Engagement, deliberation, and performance; 5. Civic cultures: an analytic frame; 6. Television and popular public spheres; 7. Internet and civic potential; 8. Online practices and civic cultures.
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Review quote

'The vision that civic engagement in a democracy will lead to a happier and better quality of life for more people is an article of faith. With an analysis that is sobering but also passionate, Peter Dahlgren offers good reasons for believing that such a vision remains desirable and obtainable, and he shows how contemporary media technologies and institutions are central to any meaningful pursuit of such a vision. But it is human agency and political will, not machines and bureaucratic structures, that are central to this hopeful vision. Media and Political Engagement is path-breaking in its demonstration of the profound nature of media institutions as political institutions.' Andrew Calabrese, University of Colorado 'Every few years a book takes a complex debate to a new level. Dahlgren's Media and Political Engagement is one such book. Truly impressive in its scope, wise and forward-looking in its assessment of many tangled disputes in political theory and sociology, new media and popular culture, Dahlgren's book offers a convincing and original model of civic culture, articulating brilliantly the multiple cultural and social roots of political participation. By 'opening the gate', as he puts it, between standard definitions of 'politics' and 'non-politics', Dahlgren provides an essential foundation for sharper debate, across media studies, political science and political theory, on media's complex but fertile contribution to the life of democracy.' Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths College, University of London 'Media have always had an ambivalent relationship to citizenship and democracy. Sometime promoters of democratic values, often purveyors of their opposite, the role of the press, radio and television has been fraught. In this important book, Peter Dahlgren shows how the new media context has now changed the dynamics of how citizens use media to advance the democratic project. Brimming with sober analysis and relying on the latest empirical data, Dahlgren explores how the Internet has changed the nature of political engagement - perhaps forever. Far from lauding the Internet as an uncontested new agora, however, Dahlgren explores the paradoxical side of the new technology. The cautionary tone that marks this unsentimental study will inform students of politics and social activists alike.' Marc Raboy, McGill University
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About Peter Dahlgren

Peter Dahlgren is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Lund University, Sweden. He has also taught at Stockholm University, as well as Queens College and Fordham University in New York City, and has been a visiting scholar at several other universities. He is the author of many articles and author or editor of several books, including Television and the Public Sphere (1995) and Young Citizens and New Media: Learning for Democratic Participation (2007).
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