The internet opens up new opportunities for citizens to organize and mobilize for action but it also provides new channels that established political, social and economic interests can use to extend their powers. Will the internet revolutionize politics? The Prospect of Internet Democracy is a rich and detailed exploration of the theoretical implications of the internet and related information and communication technologies (ICTs) for democratic theory. Focusing in particular on how political uses of the internet have affected or seem likely to affect patterns of influence among citizens, interest groups and political institutions, the authors examine whether the internet's impact on democratic politics is destined to repeat the history of other innovative ICTs. The volume explores the likely long-term effects of such uses on the conduct of politics in the USA and other nations that declare themselves modern democracies and assesses the extent to which they help or hinder viable democratic governance.
Prize: Nominated for the ITP Section Award at APSA 2010 'This book offers an engaging account of the clash of ideals that now characterizes this subject area. It places current debates about information and communication technologies squarely within the context of empirical and normative theories of democracy. A welcome addition to the literature.' Andrew Chadwick, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK 'Providing a skeptical look at the transformative capacity of the internet to strengthen American democracy, Margolis and Moreno-RiaÃ±o inject an invaluable corrective to much of the hype surrounding this phenomenon. By deflating exaggerated claims, this book presents a more realistic and hard-nosed assessment of how the internet affects citizens' participation in the public sphere.' Pippa Norris, Harvard University, USA 'Margolis and Moreno-Riano have successfully managed to consolidate numerous ideas into one succinct evaluation of online practices and democratic theories. As such, this text provides a useful resource for anyone wishing to develop a broad understanding of the internet's impact on democracy.' Media International Australia
Contents: Introduction; The internet and the prospect of democracy; Impossible dreams: the radical roots of cyber-democracy; Tempering the dreams: revised theories of cyber-democracy; Democracy, tolerance and the internet; Mass media and internet democracy; The internet and democratic education; Parties, interest groups and the internet's impact on democratic participation; Internet democracy in the 21st century; Bibliography; Index.