Introduction: Digital Media and Political Engagement Worldwide

Michael J. Jensen, Laia Jorba, Eva Anduiza

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookForeword/postscriptpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Research from the United States and United Kingdom over the past fifteen years shows an increasingly positive relationship between internet use and levels of political engagement. Although the effect might be small at times, more evolutionary than revolutionary, and require certain conditions, it is rarely contested that digital media have an impact on civic and political involvement (Boulianne 2009; Prior 2007; Jensen, Danziger, and Venkatesh 2007; Owen 2006). However, the mechanisms by which internet use makes political engagement more probable remain somewhat elusive. In addition, whether this effect can be observed in other, non Anglo-Saxon political systems is still largely an open question. This question is particularly important given recent events in the Islamic world, where mixed results in citizen-led revolutions have provoked different opinions regarding the consequences of digital media use for democratic politics (Morozov 2011; Zhuo, Wellman, and Yu 2011). To better understand the role of digital media in connecting individuals to the political system, the contributors of this volume examine different aspects of this relationship with a variety of data sources and methodological approaches in a number of diverse contexts. First, the book analyzes different paths through which digital media are affecting political involvement among citizens. We argue that these paths are both direct and indirect. Digital media have opened new modes of engagement that previously did not exist and that can be used by citizens to express their political views and convey their interests. This book considers a wide variety of different political contexts and political activities available online, and it considers the impact of these activities both on political systems and, most important for our concerns, on citizens. Thus, this volume analyzes online involvement as a direct consequence of digital media use on the way citizens relate to their political environments and the indirect effects that result from internet use via changes in resources, attitudes, and traditional patterns of behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Media and Political Engagement Worldwide
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Study
EditorsEva Anduiza, Michael James Jensen, Laia Jorba
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781139108881
ISBN (Print)9781107021426
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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