Journal of Development and Communication Studies

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Mediated political participation and competing discourses of online civic engagement

Philip Oburu Onguny


This article focuses on the interconnections between mediated political participation and online citizen engagement. The objective is threefold. First, it examines whether the notion of digital democracy captures the dynamic and “renewed” sense of civic responsibility brought to bear by disruptive information and communication technologies (ICTs). Second, it asks the question of whether the creation, negotiation, dissemination, and consumption of online political content really rivals those circulated by the traditional or legacy media. Finally, the article discusses the potential pitfalls of confining technological use patterns to pessimist-optimist dichotomy, arguing that such characterization ignores innovative or adapted use patterns that emerge based on varying social, political, and economic realities. Overall, the discussions presented in this article are meant to generate conceptual discussions around the links between mediated political participation and online civic engagement, and how they inform democratization processes and redistribution of political influence.

Keywords: Mediated politics, mediated political participation, digital democracy, mediated public sphere, ICTs, digital divide, online civic engagement, civic responsibility

AJOL African Journals Online