Cover image for Click on democracy : the Internet's power to change political apathy into civic action
Click on democracy : the Internet's power to change political apathy into civic action
Davis, Steve.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxii, 295 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Don't do it Drew -- Election.dud -- Hype -- Humility -- Hope -- Communities of belief -- Communities of action -- Communities of identity -- Communities of discourse.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
JK1764 .D385 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Click on Democracy examines the first national election in which the Internet played a major role. The contributors argue that the Internet's most profound political impact on Election 2000 has largely been missed or underestimated. The reason: the difference it made was more social than electoral, more about building political communities than about generating votes and money.Voter turnout has dwindled over the past forty years, and fewer Americans are involved in civic activities. The real story of the Internet is its emergence as a community builder - under the radar of most political observers who focus on large institutions - in a society that has become politically disengaged and disenchanted. The contributors to Click on Democracy talk at length with the people who are using the Internet in new and effective ways, and who are capitalizing on the Internet's power as a networking tool for civic action. Viewed from this bottom-up perspective, the Internet emerges as an exciting and powerful source of renewal for civic engagement.

Author Notes

Larry Elin is assistant professor at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and co-chair of its Media and American Democracy Institute.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Syracuse University professors Davis, Ellin and Reeher have taken it upon themselves to dispel the myth of the creepy, asocial Internet chat-room user by exploring how online communities leapt into action and flourished during the lengthy and confusing 2000 presidential election. While very informative, the book suffers from the penchant of the authors to spend too much time focusing on the life stories of a handful of web provocateurs-making the work drag as the bios progress to no real payoff. But the exposition of how politicians used (or failed to use) the Internet during the 2000 elections and the inside story of the political websites that sprang up to cover the goings-on is itself worth the price of admission. Despite the "digital divide" that still frustrates web activists, the authors give a hopeful account of the future of grassroots political action and community building on the Internet. (Sept. 18) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Davis, Elin, and Reeher (all, Syracuse Univ.; the first two from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and Reeher from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs) have collectively examined the effect the Internet will have as an instrument of democracy. The short answer is: not much, based on their relatively scant sources for research. In the presidential election of 2000 the Internet's primary role appears to have been social rather than electoral. The chat room communications primarily let interested people sound off on political opinions. There is little documentation that discloses whether these people played an effective role in their local election. One person who was interviewed believes that the response to ten other people paid off. How is not disclosed. Politics is a serious business, and these people were for the most part obvious amateurs, including those concerned with "causes," like gun advocates. The book is an easy read, reminiscent of the old-time Saturday Evening Post interviews with "just folks." The authors write in a folksy style, and the text unfortunately contains grammatical errors. The future outlook is safe for professional politicians; technology through the Internet presents no immediate threat. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and lower-division undergraduates. S. L. Harrison University of Miami

Table of Contents

S. B. Woo
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Authors and Research Contributorsp. xvii
Forewordp. xix
1 Don't Do It, Drewp. 1
2 Election.dudp. 23
3 Hypep. 37
4 Humilityp. 73
5 Hopep. 101
6 Communities of Beliefp. 117
7 Communities of Actionp. 165
8 Communities of Identityp. 201
9 Communities of Discoursep. 223
10 The Futurep. 247
Epiloguep. 263
Notesp. 265
Indexp. 281