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Social media for democracy – understanding the causal mechanisms of digital citizenship

Project description

The impact of social media on politics

At the frontier between computer science and political science, the public arena is where citizens and political elites come together to discuss and develop shared agendas. Digital technologies have changed the public arena; social media networks have made it more open and more responsive. The EU-funded SoMe4Dem project will focus on the impact of social media on society in terms of political debates and provide better empirical evidence. Moreover, it will explore how these platforms lead to new mechanisms of fragmentation and exclusion. SoMe4Dem will also develop tools to ensure social media contribute to the functioning of the public arena in a liberal democracy.

Objective

Social media for democracy – understanding the causal mechanisms of digital citizenship (SoMe4Dem)

Current diagnoses that democracy is in crisis at the beginning of the 21st century share a common argumentative reference point: the (implicit) reference to the dysfunctional constitution of the political public sphere which is currently undergoing structural change. The rise of social media platforms is considered as one of its main constituents. While social media make the public arena more open and thus more responsive, these platforms also lead to new mechanisms of fragmentation and exclusion, an erosion of norms in public debate and a loss of trust in traditional institutions.

The project will reconsider the diagnoses of this crisis by (1) providing better empirical evidence for the impact of social media on society with respect to political debates, (2) understanding the main causal mechanisms of this impact and (3) developing tools that improve the capacity of social media to contribute to the functioning of the public arena in a liberal democracy, i.e. deliberation, legitimation and the self-perception of the democratic subject.

Coordinator

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Net EU contribution
€ 838 875,00
Address
HOFGARTENSTRASSE 8
80539 Munchen
Germany

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Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 838 875,00

Participants (8)

Partners (1)