New special issue published: New Media and Democracy
The relationship between media and democracy has been the subject of scholarly scrutiny for a long time and arguably the democratizing potential of information and communication technologies sparked a renewed interest in this area of research. The popularity of the topic was reflected in the number of abstracts that we received for this special issue as well as in the range of research questions, geographical areas and disciplinary fields that they addressed.
We were hoping that our special issue will not only engage with some of the most pressing scholarly as well as societal issues in the ‘new’ and ‘old’ democracies of Europe – such as the disengagement of young people from institutional politics and the potential of new media in remedying this situation – but that it would reach out to societies and cases that receive less scholarly attention.
It was clear to us from the very inception of this special issue that explorations of the complex and rich relationship between new media and democratic politics (polity) require a variety of often interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies. The scope of the individual articles in the special issue varies greatly – from large-scale quantitative surveys to individual civic applications – which underlines the complexity and urgency of the research presented here.
We believe that our special issue enriches academic debates about the actual empirically verified potential of new media in (re)engaging the public with the (broadly conceived) political. It is clear that local cultures and levels of institutional trust shape the ways in which citizens use new media as tools for political participation. Algorithms, risks associated with discussing politics online as well as authenticity associated with online political participation also play a crucial role.
Read the full editorial here.
Pablo Sapag M