Javnost - The Public , Vol. 18 - 2011, No. 1
Does an increasingly interconnected world provide new opportunities for civil society to enhance democratic practice – or are human relationships diminished and emptied of their vitality as carefully constructed online profiles proliferate? Debates have emerged about the efficacy of a digital democracy and its ramifications for public politics. This paper follows the specific argument concerning some of the claims from online proponents of the potential of the Internet to create a more informed and accountable democratic culture. It is concerned with questions of the transmission of values and some of the cognitive aspects of this technology. Some techno-futurists are in no doubt concerning the political implications of a more interconnected age; others are more sanguine about the intrusiveness of this new technology. For example, there are numerous claims concerning the potential for Internet-based forums to enrich democratic practice, of breaking-down sovereign borders and establishing a pluralistic transnational global public sphere. On the other hand, political realists are skeptical of new communications technology and its potential to transform democratic life, which is still essentially embedded in the polity of nation states. This paper does not add to this burgeoning literature, but rather focuses on “democratic values” by posing questions about “digital democracy” and whether or not this new technology is leading to greater levels of public participation, social inclusion and empathy.
This article critically examines the framework of European communication and cultural policies with the intention to enable a better understanding of the role that is currently assigned to both fields within the EU agenda. It is argued that the official European discourse has found in the notion of creativity a way to further domesticate culture in order to instrumentally reduce it, as has already been done with communications, to just another sector that can generate further revenue. In consequence, the creative processes have also begun to be taken into account in the formulation of information society and media policies. This is not a surprise from a historical point of view: the paradigm of creativity has been introduced in policy formation processes through the Lisbon agenda and the innovation society logo as a way of deepening the existing trends.
Measuring party agendas is a central enterprise in agenda-setting studies, but there is no consensus on which empirical material to use to capture such agendas, and no study systematically compares different communication channels of individual parties. A crucial question arises: To what extent do political parties campaign on the same issues in different channels of campaign communication? Using quantitative content analysis to measure the agendas of Danish parties in six campaign channels during five national elections, the article empirically demonstrates that parties emphasise quite different issues in different channels, most likely due to strategic considerations. Potentially, this conclusion has profound implications for the research field: acknowledging the dissimilarity of the same party’s issue attention in different empirical material, scholars may not be able to directly compare agenda studies based on e.g. election manifestos and commercial ads. Thus, future agenda-setting studies should include multiple channels or begin a search for a standard source.
This case study is an attempt to challenge the dominant narrative of a U.S. popular cultural text that has shaped the public imaginary of a non-Western culture and to open up the possibility of re-constructing alternative narratives, imaginaries, cultural spaces, and identities. More specifically, the present analysis investigates the process that Disney appropriated the Chinese legend of Mulan into a “universal” classic and offers an interpretation of The Ballad of Mulan, upon which the Disney film was based, as a form of counter-rhetoric for negotiating the dominant image produced by Disney. This case study demonstrates that Disney’s appropriation simultaneously reinforced the existing racial and gender ideologies through deprecating Chinese culture as an Oriental despotism and dissolving feminism into the cultural/racial hierarchy. Contrary to the overriding theme of individualism in the Disney version, the original Ballad reflects the Chinese ethos of relationalism, filial piety, and loyalty and embraces an alternative form of feminism that is predicated on the Chinese preference for the collective.
This article analyses American Internet companies’ predicament in China from the perspective of the Internet users. Google, eBay, and MSN Messenger were selected to represent American companies, and were compared with their major local competitors – Baidu, Taobao, and Tencent QQ. The demographic changes in the Internet user base and different choices of information have-more users and have-less users explain the rise and fall of American companies at the Chinese market. Have-more users and have-less users are respectively related to the space of flows and the space of places in Castells’ (2000) notion. Moreover, this study found that have-more users have higher mobility to switch between the space of flows and the space of places than have-less users. Giddens’ (1991) theory of emancipatory politics and life politics explain how individual users’ self-identities affect the competition between local and American companies as well as the overall development of China’s Internet.