is a word we hear more frequently
the time, but it's also one whose meaning has never seemed less
clear. "Citizen journalists" and "e-citizenship"
initiatives are everywhere, but so are signs of crisis in democratic
institutions and processes.
The online tools used to promote
new forms of active citizenship are products of an era where the traditional
focus of citizenship - the nation - seems far less powerful and important
than ever in the face of global flows of capital, communication and
culture. The exhortations to pursue new forms of political engagement
- like public affairs blogging and citizen journalism - can only be
read alongside the mounting evidence of a widespread disengagement
from politics. It's not clear whether or how democratic institutions
can (or ought to) adapt themselves to the changing modes of participation.
And it's also unclear whether the online spaces given over to political
debate do anything more than further polarize our conversations. But
can institutions and an increasingly diverse online public sphere
change and adapt to one another to renew democratic participation?
For this edition of M/C Journal, we're looking for pieces that weigh
up the impact of new forms of political participation. We'd especially
like to encourage articles that reflect on concrete attempts to increase
participation in the political process, and to promote citizenship.
Whether you'd like to reflect on an initiative you've participated
in, or link theory with interesting examples of media practice and
activism, we'd like to feature your contribution.