This book has dealt with two research questions: how does digital media use influence political engagement, and which contextual variables may condition this relationship? The evidence analyzed across the fifteen cases considered in this book suggests that engagement with digital environments is having an effect on users and that contextual features play a significant role in shaping digital politics. The cases presented in this volume have isolated evidence for both cross-national generalizations and system-level effects, indicating that the role of a particular variable depends on its interaction with institutional elements, media systems, and the digital divide in a political system. In addition, the cases provide evidence that digital media create political opportunity structures in political systems, which in turn depend on contextual factors. We first consider the evidence linking digital media use to higher levels of political engagement, and we then move to the question of the role of contextual features of political systems and their immediate environments in shaping the development of digital politics in a polity. Political Engagement around the World The most sustained empirical observation throughout the analyses carried out in this volume is that, despite all the nuances, there is evidence of a positive and significant effect of digital media on political engagement, regardless of the political context under consideration. In particular, the research assembled here shows that internet use is positively associated with a variety of forms of political engagement - both behavioral and attitudinal. Jorba and Bimber’s as well as Chadwick’s review of the literature show that this is consistent with the preponderance of previous research regarding digital media. This has been confirmed throughout the book, ranging from electoral turnout in the 2008 U.S. elections to critical evaluations of the current regime in China. That this finding holds up independent of themethodology used and the context involved demonstrates its robustness.
|Title of host publication||Digital Media and Political Engagement Worldwide|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Comparative Study|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2012|