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Internet Use and Political Participation: Reflections on the Mobilization/Normalization Controversy

Hirzalla, F., van Zoonen, L., & Ridder, J. de.
Information Society, 27 (1), (S. 1-15).
2011

Web-based and theoretical studies often claim that Internet use can mobilize political participation, while survey-based studies generally conclude that Internet use will normalize political participation. This article aims to offer some reflections on the discrepancies between these mobilization and normalization theses. The authors argue that mobilization claims tend to focus on manifestations online in specific cases, whereas normalization theses are normally built on assessments of general Internet use patterns. Consequently, more specific surveys must be employed to evaluate the nature of political Internet use. Based on such a specific survey (n= 819), the authors investigate the use of two online vote advice applications (VAAs) during the 2006 Dutch parliamentary elections. VAAs are increasingly popular in democracies worldwide, especially among a group that is often considered “apathetic” about electoral politics: youth. With structural equation modeling, however, the authors find that the use of the Dutch VAAs fits the mobilization thesis among youth and the normalization thesis among older people.

Zitation (APA)

Hirzalla, F., van Zoonen, L., & Ridder, J. de. (2011). Internet Use and Political Participation: Reflections on the Mobilization/Normalization Controversy. Information Society, 27(1), 1-15.