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Citizenship Studies

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Digital citizenship? Narrative exchange and the changing terms of civic culture

Digital citizenship? Narrative exchange and the changing terms of civic culture

Nick Couldrya*, Hilde Stephansena*, Aristea Fotopouloua*, Richard MacDonalda*, Wilma Clarka* & Luke Dickensa*
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© 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.

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This article explores the possibilities for new forms of ‘digital citizenship’ currently emerging through digitally supported processes of narrative exchange. Using Dahlgren's (Dahlgren, P. 2003. “Reconfiguring Civic Culture in the New Media Milieu.” In Media and the Restyling of Politics, edited by J. Corner, and D. Pels, 151–170. London: Sage; Dahlgren, P. 2009. Media and Political Engagement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.) circuit of ‘civic culture’ as a model for exploring the interlinking preconditions for new acts of citizenship, we discuss the contrasting outcomes of research at three fieldwork sites in the North of England – educational (a sixth form college), civil society (a community reporters' network) and social (a local club). Each site provided clear evidence of the elements of Dahlgren's circuit (some depending on the intensive use of digital infrastructure, others predating it), but there were also breaks in the circuit that constrained its effectiveness. A crucial factor in each case for building a lasting circuit of civic culture (and an effective base for new forms of digital citizenship) is the role that digital infrastructure can play in extending the scale of interactions beyond the purely local.


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  • Received: 31 May 2013
  • Accepted: 7 Oct 2013
  • Published online: 25 Mar 2014

Author affiliations

  • a Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK

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  • 2012 Impact Factor 0.738


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