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Distributed and prepared. A new theory of citizens' public connection networks in the age of datafication


"In the last decade, societies across the world have been challenged by fragmenting public debate, fueled by algorithmically steered social media and new threats of propaganda and misinformation. The dual tendency of political apathy and polarization pose grave problems for a well-functioning democracy. As the social sciences appear unable to mitigate the challenges with a seemingly ignorant and passive citizenry, PREPARE proposes a radically new approach. PREPARE fills a research gap on the impact of algorithmic media and datafied everyday life on citizens? potential for political engagement. Current research on people's connection to the public is predominately interested in measuring the political knowledge of so-called ""informed citizens"", or studying the everyday micro-aspects of news media use. The leap proposed by PREPARE changes the focus from each citizen's ""informedness"" to develop and test a groundbreaking theory of distributed preparedness, building a cohesive theory for a fragmented field. PREPARE will stake out a new path for research on citizens? role in democracies. The project will develop a feasible, normative theory of citizens? orientations to the sphere of politics in datafied societies: their networks for public connection. PREPARE's research questions concern 1) how people stay prepared to engage with public issues, and 2) what resources they need to move from stand-by to engage. PREPARE substantiates the new theory through thickening of big data, with three ethnographies integrated with digital methods, of so-called disconnected citizens. The three groups are young urban immigrants, rural manual workers, and women outside the labour market. The path cleared by PREPARE allows research to constructively engage with improving democratic societies and civic awareness."


Net EU contribution
€ 2 000 000,00
Museplassen 1
5020 Bergen

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Norge Vestlandet Vestland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 2 000 000,00