Call#: Annenberg Library Reserve P94.65.U6 J46 2006
In chapter six, Jenkins discusses the role of popular culture in emerging political communities. Jenkins (as is the case throughout Convergence Culture) is focused on how old and new media interact and the dynamics of collaboration and participation. While Jenkins recognizes the scoff-factor when implying the concept of “photoshop for democracy” (user-generated images that often map themes from popular culture onto the political campaign) is any sort of substitute for real political activism, he insists that this kind of user-generated content and mass dispersion is a serious act of citizenry. In fact, using popular culture as a means of engaging voters might just be the most effective way of re-establishing interest in politics as a part of our everyday lives. Jenkins focuses on the 2004 election and recognizes that the next step is to think of “democratic citizenship as a lifestyle.” Furthermore, online political communities seem to be segregating voters, as opposed to encouraging dialogue across ideologies. Although he seems to offer popular culture as a kind of national balm for the ailments of political fragmentation, Jenkins recognizes the inherent limits of its role in (or applicability as a model for) contemporary political communities.
For me, the most useful parts of this argument is the attention he pays to the increasing participation of average Americans (now as monitorial citizens as opposed to informed citizens) in the media landscape and the possibilities for the integration of politics and popular culture. However, he doesn’t seem to offer any real solution for the acutely polarized political landscape.
Call#: Van Pelt Library JK1764 .T75 2004
Call#: Van Pelt Library JK1764 .D37 2005
Ch. 1: “Electronic Political Discussion”
This chapter offers an overview of various online communications, including electronic email lists, Usenet and blogs. Davis addresses the question of whether or not online discussions make any difference in political processes, institutions or societal behavior and ultimately decides that the prophesized utopia of direct democracy has not yet been achieved. The obstacles facing such restructuring include: inequality in the levels of accessibility and the fragmented nature of electronic political discussion. Even the more tempered notion of deliberative democracy faces hurdles - most notably human reliance on technological solutions.
This chapter is a helpful summary of current online discussion forums and briefly pulls apart the kind of Trippi-esque claims of revolution. I'm going to utilize the rest of this book in order to examine the broad claims of internet revolution which, in the case of much writing about the internet, seem devoid of factors like accessibility.