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Online political debate, unbounded citizenship, and the problematic nature of a transnational public sphere

Cammaerts, Bart and Van Audenhove, Leo (2005) Online political debate, unbounded citizenship, and the problematic nature of a transnational public sphere. Political Communication, 22 (2). pp. 147-162. ISSN 1058-4609

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Abstract

Citizenship has always been a dynamic notion, subject to change and permanent struggle over its precise content and meaning. Recent technological, economic, and political transformations have led to the development of alternative notions of citizenship that go beyond the classic understanding of its relationship to nation states and rights. Civil society actors play an important role in this process by organizing themselves at a transnational level, engaging with issues that transcend the boundaries of the nation state and questioning the democratic legitimacy of other transnational actors such as international and corporate organizations. They also allow citizens to engage with "unbounded" issues and to construct a transnational public sphere where such issues can be debated. It is often assumed that the Internet plays a crucial role in enabling this transnational public sphere to take shape. Empirical analysis of discussion forums and mailing lists developed by transnational civil society actors shows, however, that the construction of such a transnational public sphere is paved with constraints. To speak of a unified transnational public sphere is therefore deemed to be problematic. It cannot be seen or construed without taking into account the local, the national, and enforceable rights in order to materialize the ideas and hopes being voiced through civil society.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=journal&...
Additional Information: © 2005 Taylor and Francis
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2008
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3022/

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