Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society, and Participation

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Just as education has promoted democracy and economic growth, the Internet has the potential to benefit society as a whole. Digital citizenship, or the ability to participate in society online, promotes social inclusion. But statistics show that significant segments of the population are still excluded from digital citizenship. The authors of this book define digital citizens as those who are online daily. By focusing on frequent use, they reconceptualize debates about the digital divide to include both the means...

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Overview

Just as education has promoted democracy and economic growth, the Internet has the potential to benefit society as a whole. Digital citizenship, or the ability to participate in society online, promotes social inclusion. But statistics show that significant segments of the population are still excluded from digital citizenship. The authors of this book define digital citizens as those who are online daily. By focusing on frequent use, they reconceptualize debates about the digital divide to include both the means and the skills to participate online. They offer new evidence (drawn from recent national opinion surveys and Current Population Surveys) that technology use matters for wages and income, and for civic engagement and voting. DigitalCitizenship examines three aspects of participation in society online: economic opportunity,democratic participation, and inclusion in prevailing forms of communication. The authors find thatInternet use at work increases wages, with less-educated and minority workers receiving the greatest benefit, and that Internet use is significantly related to political participation, especially among the young. The authors examine in detail the gaps in technological access among minorities and the poor and predict that this digital inequality is not likely to disappear in the near future. Public policy, they argue, must address educational and technological disparities if we are to achieve full participation and citizenship in the twenty-first century. Karen Mossberger is Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Public Administration, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs,University of Illinois at Chicago. Caroline J. Tolbert is Associate Professor in the Department ofPolitical Science at the University of Iowa. She and Karen Mossberger are coauthors (with MaryStansbury) of Virtual Inequality: Beyond the Digital Divide. Ramona S. McNeal is Visiting AssistantProfessor in the Political Studies Department at the University of Illinois atSpringfield.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
" Digital Citizenship examines the impact of the Internet on civic engagement and political participation. This book is a compelling and informative study that brings new survey evidence to bear on the power of the Internet. Through careful and detailed exploration,the authors demonstrate that the Internet brings important benefits to society and government, while those outside the digital revolution suffer from the lack of access to Internet technology."Darrell West , Department of Political Science, BrownUniversity

" Digital Citizenship is the clearest explanation of what it means to inhabit the modern, networked world. It is an excellent assessment of the benefits and costs that accrue from Internet use in an online society. Mossberger, Tolbert and McNeal not only rekindle debates about Internet access and digital divides, but provide new insights into the very meaning of the terms. Policymakers and scholars will do well to read Digital Citizenshipclosely, for it can take us to a new level of debate that can enhance our understanding of the issues, and a new level of action that can enhance and broaden the public sphere."StevenJones , Department of Communication, University of Illinois, Chicago

"This is a book of impressive scope and ambition. It provides an empirically rich,analytically sophisticated survey of the many dimensions of citizenship in the digital age. The authors marshal a wide array of evidence from multiple sources, applying it to a range of fundamental questions. This book is essential reading on the subject."Bruce Bimber, Department of Political Science, and Department of Communication, University ofCalifornia, Santa Barbara

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262134859
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2007
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Mossberger is Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Public Administration,College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Caroline J. Tolbert is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at theUniversity of Iowa.

Ramona S. McNeal is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Political Studies Department at theUniversity of Illinois at Springfield.

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