Reinforcement and mobilization: the influence of the Internet on different types of political participation
Type of work: Communication
In this paper we analyse political participation distinguishing between representational and extra-representational activities. We argue that Internet use may have an impact on specific forms of political participation. We defend that the increase of the amount of information available on the Internet allows for escaping the mainstream discourses and the agenda-setting established by traditional elites. A higher diversity of information is available and involved citizens will access it voluntarily or through unplanned exposures. Then, this exposure to more diverse discourses would contribute to the impulse towards extra-representational modes of participation.
We analyse the impact of frequency of Internet use and specific uses of the Internet on different types of participation and we obtain that the mobilisation approach can be applied to the Spanish case regarding extra-representational modes of participation. We also check for distinct mobilising impacts in three profiles of individuals according to their attitudinal traits: disaffected, critical and institutionalised. Our results suggest that the use of the Internet reinforces critical citizens in their participatory habits and mobilises institutionalised individuals towards extra-representational activities. Our conclusion is that the reinforcement and mobilisation hypotheses are both verified. They are not exclusive, but complementary.
More information: http://ictlogy.net/tag/citizen_politics_2009/