The revolution in digital communications has altered the relationship between citizens and political elites, with important implications for democracy. As new information ecosystems have evolved, as unforeseen examples of their positive and negative consequences have emerged, and as theorizing, data, and research methods have expanded and improved, the central question has shifted from if the digital information environment is good or bad for democratic politics to how and in what contexts particular attributes of this environment are having an influence. It is only through the careful analysis of specific cases that we can begin to build a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the role of digital media in democratic theory and practice.
The essays in Digital Media and Democratic Futures focus on a variety of information and communication technologies, politically relevant actors, substantive issues, and digital political practices, doing so from distinct theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. Individually, each of these case studies provides deep insights into the complex and context-dependent relationship between media and democracy. Collectively, they show that there is no single outcome for democracy in the digital age, only a range of possible futures.
Contributors: Rena Bivens, Michael X. Delli Carpini, Jennifer Earl, Thomas Elliott, Deen Freelon, Kelly Gates, Philip N. Howard, Daniel Kreiss, Ting Luo, Helen Nissenbaum, Beth Simone Noveck, Jennifer Pan, Lisa Poggiali, Daniela Stockmann.