The Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in a Networked Age by Chris WellsThe Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in a Networked Age by Chris Wells

The Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in a Networked Age

byChris Wells

Paperback | July 8, 2015

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The powerful potential of digital media to engage citizens in political actions has now crossed our news screens many times. But scholarly focus has tended to be on "networked," anti-institutional forms of collective action, to the neglect of advocacy and service organizations. This bookinvestigates the changing fortunes of the citizen-civil society relationship by exploring how social changes and innovations in communication technology are transforming the information expectations and preferences of many citizens, especially young citizens. In doing so, it is the first work tobring together theories of civic identity change with research on civic organizations. Specifically, it argues that a shift in "information styles" may help to explain the disjuncture felt by many young people when it comes to institutional participation and politics. The book theorizes two paradigms of information style: a dutiful style, which was rooted in the society, communication system and citizen norms of the modern era, and an actualizing style, which constitutes the set of information practices and expectations of the young citizens of late modernity forwhom interactive digital media are the norm. Hypothesizing that civil society institutions have difficulty adapting to the norms and practices of the actualizing information style, two empirical studies apply the dutiful/actualizing framework to innovative content analyses of organizations' onlinecommunications - on their websites, and through Facebook. Results demonstrate that with intriguing exceptions, most major civil society organizations use digital media more in line with dutiful information norms than actualizing ones: they tend to broadcast strategic messages to an audience ofreceivers, rather than encouraging participation or exchange among an active set of participants. The book concludes with a discussion of the tensions inherent in bureaucratic organizations trying to adapt to an actualizing information style, and recommendations for how they may more successfully doso.
Chris Wells is Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Title:The Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in a Networked AgeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 1.1 inPublished:July 8, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190203625

ISBN - 13:9780190203627

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Young Citizens and the Changing Face of Civic Information2. Two Paradigms of Civic Information3. Civic Organizations in the New Media Environment4. Civic Organizations' Communications on the Web5. Civic Organizations' Communications through Facebook6. Conclusion: Communicating Civic Life to Digital CitizensAppendicesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Can 'legacy' civic organizations adapt their communication strategies to connect more effectively with young people in the digital age? Can new forms of 'virtual' organizations that are more attuned to the civic identities and practices of the young be effective in the brick and mortar worldof political and economic power? In The Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen Chris Wells provides empirically grounded and insightful answers to these questions - answers of great import to how we theorize, research, and practice democratic politics in the 21st century." --Michael X. Delli Carpini Dean Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania