06 SES 07, Learning, Involvement and Civic Participation
The idea of interdependency between literacies, societal institutions and media generate the following research questions:
a) What kinds of literacies are needed for citizens to be able to take part in and act as responsible citizens in democratic societies, and how could the use of literacies be said to contribute – or impede – the development of democratic engagement?
b) How does and can education and societal institutions nurture and support the development of literacies necessary for individuals to assert and defend democratic rights, interests, limits and needs in societies of today?
c) How does use of different media content and platforms and the overall media diet relate to an individual’s societal interest and democratic engagement?
Involvement of the citizen in political life is seen as a vital element in modern democracies. This asks for advanced literacy competences of various kinds, among all groups of citizens. Without public involvement, democracy lacks both its legitimacy and its guiding force (Best and Krueger, 2005; Clark 2002).
However, while election turnout has declined, the repertoire of political action has expanded; digital media has opened up for more diverse forms of actions and the participation repertoire have come to include more direct and individualized forms of action (Dalton, 2008). One reason for this is that digital communication technologies are non-hierarchical, which might strengthen the relation between decision makers and citizens. Also, they create new rooms and spaces for democratic dialogue and participation (Jensen, 2003; Susanto och Goodwin, 2010). Some researchers also claim that in the information age, political participation is moving away from involvement in institutional activities to a more flexible political participation through individualized access to information and electronic interaction (Bennett et al., 2008; Mesch and Coleman, 2007); political participation is changing from social movement to ”DIYs” and also from traditional institutions to large-scale groups as such as Amnesty and Greenpeace.
There are several civic uses of the Internet developed by entrepreneurs including mobilizing political support, offering citizens feedback opportunities and developing discussion groups surrounding public affairs; what matters for civic engagement is not first and foremost the technology but rather the information conveyed by it (Coleman et. al., 2008). However, even if the availability of information is important, it does not necessarily lead to use of information (Scheufele and Nisbet, 2002), and the concept of digital divide needs to go beyond physical access to computers and Internet. In fact, going online does not per se alter the balance between the information rich and information poor (Norris, 2001; Sæbø et. al, 2008). So called “information rich” activities – such as political participation – requires time, money and digital and civic skills of individuals in order to take part in political life (Hoffman, 2012). Here, the project intends to create a nuanced understanding of online engagement, exclusion processes and its influence on democracy, to be able to discuss reasons for the involvement of citizens in political life. For instance, the divide between citizens with better and lower information and strategic skills is important, since the amount of information available becomes larger for a more width spread audience. If people with low levels of Internet skills fail to find information online while an increasing amount of information relevant to daily life becomes easy to access on the Internet, they become increasingly disadvantaged (van Deursen and van Dijk, 2010). Here, the school’s compensatory mandate is essential (Barton, 2007; Cummins 2001; Creese & Blackledge, 2010); it is from this perspective the question of how education and societal institutions can nurture and support citizenship from early childhood is being discussed.
Barton, D. (2007). Literacy. An Introduction to the Ecology or Written Langage. MA: Blackwell. Creese, A. & Blackledge, A. (2010). Translanguaging in the Bilingual Classroom: A Pedagogy for Learning and Teaching? The Modern Language Journal, 94, pp. 103-115. Cummins, J. (2001). Second language teaching for academic success. A framework for school language policy development. In: K. Nauclér (ed) Symposium 2000. Ett andraspråksperspektiv på lärande. Stockholm: Sigma förlag. Bennett, W Lance, Christian Breunig and Terri Givens (2008) ‘Communication and Political Mobilization: Digital Media and the Organization of Anti-Iraq War Demonstrations in the U.S’. Political Communication 25: 269-89. Best, Samuel J. and Brian S. Krueger (2005) ‘Analyzing the Representativeness of Internet Political Participation’. Political Behaviour 27(2): 183-215. Coleman, Renita, Lieber, Paul, Mendelson, Andrew, L. and Kurpius, David, D. (2008) Public life and the internet: if you build a better website, will citizens become engaged? New Media & Society, 10(2): 179-201. Clark, Wayne (2002) Activism in the Public Sphere. Exploring the discourse of political participation. Aldershot, Burlington, Singapore and Sidney: Ashgate. Dalton, Russel J. (2008) Citizenship Norms and the Expansion of Political Participation. Political Hoffman, Lindsay H. (2012) Participation or Communication? An Explication of Political Activity in the Internet Age. Journal of Information Technology Politics, 9(3): 217-233. Jensen, Jakob Linaa (2003) Virtual democratic dialogue? Bringing together citizens and politicians. Information Polity, 8: 29-47. Kolsacker, Alisa och Lee-Kelley, Liz (2008) Citizens’ attitudes towards e-government and e-governance: a UK study. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 21(7): 723-738. Mesch, Gustavo S. and Stephen Coleman (2007) ‘New media and the new voters: the promise and problems of youth-oriented political content on the web’. In B.D. Loader (ed) Young citizens in the digital age. Political engagement, young people and new media. London and New York: Routledge. Norris, Pippa (2001) Digital Divide. Civic Engagement, Information Poverty and the Internet Worldwide. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Sæebø, Øystein, Rose, Jeremy and Skiftenes Flak, Leif (2008) The shape of eParticipation: Characterizing and emerging research area. Government Information Quarterly, 25: 400-428. Scheufele, Dietram A. and Matthew C. Nisbet (2002) Being a Citizen Online: New Opportunities and Dead Ends. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 7: 55-75. Susanto, Tony Dwi och Goodwin, Roberg (2010) Factors Influencing Citizen Adoption of SMS-Based e-Government Services. Electronic Journal of e-Government, 8(1): 55-71. Van Deursen, Alexander JAM and van Dijk, Jan AGM (2010) ‘Internet Skills and the Digital Divide’. New Media & Society, 13 (6): 893-911.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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