Due July 2010
Online technologies excite the public imagination with narratives of democratization. The Internet is a political medium, borne of democracy, but is it democratizing?
Late modern democracies are characterized by civic apathy, public skepticism, disillusionment with politics, and general disinterest in conventional political process. And yet, public interest in blogging, online news, net-based activism, collaborative news filtering, and online networking reveal an electorate that is not disinterested, but rather, fatigued with political conventions of the mainstream.
This book examines how online digital media shape and are shaped by contemporary democracies, by addressing the following issues:
How do online technologies remake how we function as citizens in contemporary democracies?
What happens to our understanding of public and private as digitalized democracies converge technologies, spaces and practices?
How do citizens of today understand and practice their civic responsibilities, and how do they compare to citizens of the past?
How do discourses of globalization, commercialization and convergence inform audience/producer, citizen/consumer, personal/political, public/private roles individuals must take on? Are resulting political behaviors atomized or collective?
Is there a public sphere anymore, and if not, what model of civic engagement expresses current tendencies and tensions best?
Students and scholars of media studies, political science, and critical theory will find this to be a fresh engagement with some of the most important questions facing democracies today.
"This is a deeply thoughtful book that asks a genuinely important question—Do the new media empower us or do they trap us in our own cocoons, cutting us off from meaningful contact with others? Papacharissi doesn’t let the reader off easily. Insistently, beguilingly, she brings up uncomfortable issues—Why are blogs so narcissistic? What happens politically when YouTube goes beyond the pale?—and she never settles for easy answers. If you care about politics, if you care about modernity, read this book."
Roderick P. Hart, University of Texas at Austin
"Papacharissi is a pioneer in the study of democracy and how it is “practiced” in the digital age. A Private Sphere is a deep, thoughtful exploration of citizenship, information, and technology at a moment of great fluidity. Anyone with an interest in how media shape political culture would do well to engage the arguments of this terrific book."
Susan Herbst, Georgia Tech
Publishing June 2010 UK / July 2010 US
ISBN: 9780745645254 £14.99 / $22.95