The premise of the monograph is that, in the U.S. case, what we have come to see as a decline in civic engagement is better understood as the passing away of one model of public sphere conjoined with the emergence of a new model. The old public sphere was “localized,” grounded in local relations, particularly economic ones, while the new public sphere is de-localized. This new de-localized sphere emerged pre-Internet, but has been shaped and organized by online networks made possible by the Internet. This research addresses the Internet’s positive and negative impacts on this new de-localized sphere. The edited volume brings together scholars from across disciplines to tackle the question of the meaning of the public sphere(s) in the new media age.
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