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Digital Media, Civic Literacy, and Civic Engagement: The “Promise and Peril” of Internet Politics in Canada

Digital Media, Civic Literacy, and Civic Engagement: The “Promise and Peril” of Internet Politics in Canada
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Author(s): J. R. Lacharite (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 17
Source title: Digital Multimedia: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3822-6.ch031

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Abstract

It has been asserted that digital media can improve literacy, engagement, and activism so long as it is promoted and judiciously encouraged by state, political, and societal actors committed to expanding the scope of policy-making to those that otherwise feel ‘left-out'. More specifically, it has been averred that social media, ‘clicktivism,' and electronic referendums have the potential to educate and energize voters on the day-to-day challenges that confront government, and give them a direct say into how certain issues ought to be addressed. However, this chapter argues that while there are still good reasons to be optimistic, looking forward, we also need to critically appraise the false promise(s) of digital media, and do so in a more nuanced fashion. It will be suggested that Canada's comparably low civic literacy rates provide us with some insight into the underlying perils of plebiscitarianism should a more sincere form digital empowerment prevail. It will also be argued that political institutions, culture, Internet usage, populism should also be accounted for.

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