Internet and Democracy in the Network Society: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Internet and Democracy in the Network Society

1st Edition

By Jan A.G.M. van Dijk, Kenneth L. Hacker


218 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-06-11
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A seminal shift has taken place in the relationship between Internet usage and politics. At the turn of the century, it was presumed that digital communication would produce many positive political effects like improvements to political information retrieval, support for public debate and community formation or even enhancements in citizen participation in political decision-making. While there have been positive effects, negative effects have also occurred including fake news and other political disinformation, social media appropriation by terrorists and extremists, ‘echo-chambers’ and "filter bubbles", elections influenced by hostile hackers and campaign manipulation by micro-targeting marketing. It is time for critical re-evaluation.

Designed to encourage critical thinking on the part of the student, internationally recognized experts, Jan A.G.M. van Dijk and Kenneth Hacker, chronicle the political significance of new communication technologies for the promotion of democracy over the last two decades. Drawing upon structuration theory and network theory and real-world case studies from across the globe, the book is logically structured around the following topics:

  • Political Participation and Inclusion
  • Habermas and the Reconstruction of Public Space
  • Media and Democracy in Authoritarian States
  • Democracy and the Internet in China
  • E-government and democracy

  • Views of democracy and Internet use

Underpinned by up-to-date literature, this important textbook is aimed at students and scholars of communication studies, political science, sociology, political communication, and international relations.


'Two leading thinkers who produced seminal texts on digital democracy and the network society when these were nebulous possibilities for most of us have teamed up. The result is a prescient and engaging book that invites all to rethink the future of networked media and democracy.' - Zizi Papacharissi, Professor and Head of Communication, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois

'This book is a timely, thoughtful and thought-provoking volume on the state of politics and democracy in an increasingly networked society, dealing with a plethora of hot-button issues such as filter bubbles and fake news. The fact that this book bears almost no resemblance to Digital Democracy (2000) makes one realize the seismic shift in internet-based politics just in the last 18 years, and how profoundly it has affected democracies as well as autocracies.' - S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor, The Pennsylvania State University

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword


  1. Introduction
  2. Network Properties and Democracy
  3. Political Participation and Inclusion
  4. The Reconstruction of Public Space in Democracy
  5. Digital Media and Networking Opportunities for Depolarizing Political Discourse
  6. Co-authored by Ben Mollov, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

  7. From Arab Spring to Winter
  8. Making Sense of China and Digital Democracy
  9. E-Government and Democracy
  10. Conclusions

About the Authors

Jan A.G.M. van Dijk is an internationally recognized expert in the field of communication, his specific interest being new media studies. Van Dijk is the author of among The Network Society (1999, 2006,2012), The Deepening Divide (2005) and Digital Skills (2014). As a professor of Communication Science at Twente University, van Dijk teaches and develops the sociology of the information society, in particular the social-cultural, political, and organizational aspects.

Kenneth L. Hacker is Professor and Department Head of Communication Studies at New Mexico State University. His does communication science research in the areas of a) political communication, b)new communication technologies, c) communication and national security, and d) military family interactions. He edited two books on presidential campaign communication and one (with Jan van Dijk) on digital democracy.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society

International communication encompasses everything from one-to-one cross-cultural interactions to the global reach of the internet. The Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society celebrates – and embraces – this depth and breadth. To completely understand communication, it must be studied in concert with many factors, since, most often, it is the foundational principle on which other subjects rest. This series provides a publishing space for scholarship in the expansive, yet intersecting, categories of communication and information processes and other disciplines.

Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society would like to publish work that educates readers about the complexities of international communication. We are especially interested in three areas: 1) research that focuses on empirical support for theoretical and conceptual development in communication and information processes, 2) research that is historically grounded and temporally expansive, and 3) research that is comparative and explores the world in both geopolitical and non-geopolitical categories. We welcome individual and co-authored manuscripts, as well as edited volumes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Media & Internet
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies