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Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected
Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth
The John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning
Edited by W. Lance Bennett
Young people today have grown up living substantial portions of their lives online, seeking entertainment, social relationships, and a place to express themselves. It is clear that participation in online communities is important for many young people, but less clear how this translates into civic or political engagement. This volume examines the relationship of online action and real-world politics.
The contributors discuss not only how online networks might inspire conventional political participation but also how creative uses of digital technologies are expanding the boundaries of politics and public issues. Do protests in gaming communities, music file sharing, or fan petitioning of music companies constitute political behavior? Do the communication skills and patterns of action developed in these online activities transfer to such offline realms as voting and public protests? Civic Life Online describes the many forms of civic life online that could predict a generation’s political behavior.