chapter  5
14 Pages

Young activists, political horizons and the Internet: Adapting the net to one’s purposes


The Internet’s significance for the life of democracy has been a recurrent theme within research, as well as in popular debates, for about a decade now (cf. Holmes, 1997; Poster, 1997; Hague and Loader, 1999; Hoff et al., 2000; Margolis and Resnick, 2000; Meikle, 2002; Jenkins and Thornburn, 2003; Shane, 2004; Dahlgren and Olsson, 2007). Some of this literature emphasises traditional political parties (for example, Nixon and Johansson, 1999; Tops et al., 2000; Anderson and Cornfield, 2003; Bimber and Davis, 2003; Gibson et al., 2003). Other efforts have extra-parliamentarian settings as their focus (for example, Castells, 1997; Kahn and Kellner, 2004; McCaughey and Ayers, 2003; van de Donk et al., 2004; de Jong et al., 2005; Caemmerts and Carpentier, 2006). In addition, there have been efforts using statistical studies that have tried to present an overarching view of Internet’s political significance through an analysis of the access to and the use of the Internet among various groups of users (cf. Wilhelm, 2000; Quan-Haase et al., 2002).