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Title: Politics as Usual? Revolution, Normalization and a New Agenda for Online Deliberation
Authors: Wright, Scott Graham
First Published: 5-Aug-2011
Publisher: Sage
Citation: New Media & Society March, 2012, 14 (2), pp. 244-261
Abstract: The suggestion that new media might revolutionize politics persists as one of the most influential and popular discourses. There has been a burgeoning scholarly response, often framed through the polarising ‘revolution’ and ‘normalization’ ‘schools’ (Davis, 2009; Margolis and Resnick, 2000). This article argues that the schism between revolution and normalization has negatively influenced subsequent empirical analyses of political conversation online (and of e-democracy studies more generally). First, it will argue that many scholars have failed to consider the nature of revolutionary change in any detail, tending to frame and interpret their research findings with the very technologically determinist accounts of revolutionary change of which they are so critical. Second, it will argue that the revolution/normalization frame has led researchers to disproportionately analyse existing political institutions and practices, often using narrow definitions of politics and normative underpinnings that simply may not be relevant in the context of new media. Finally, the article argues that the revolution/normalization frame may have led researchers to interpret their empirical data in an unduly negative way. Combined together the revolution/normalization frame can shape the selection of cases, the choice of research questions and how subsequent results are interpreted – with the danger that researchers are being unduly pessimistic about the prevalence and nature of political debate online. The critique will lead to a series of suggestions about how scholars can take online deliberation research forward.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1461444811410679
ISSN: 1461-4448
eISSN: 1461-7315
Type: Journal Article
Description: Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Media and Communication

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