Synopses & Reviews
How have online protestsand#151;like the recent outrage over the Komen Foundationand#8217;s decision to defund Planned Parenthoodand#151;changed the nature of political action? How do Facebook and other popular social media platforms shape the conversation around current political issues? The ways in which we gather information about current events and communicate it with others have been transformed by the rapid rise of digital media. The political is no longer confined to the institutional and electoral arenas, and that has profound implications for how we understand citizenship and political participation.
With From Voice to Influence, Danielle Allen and Jennifer S. Light have brought together a stellar group of political and social theorists, social scientists, and media analysts to explore this transformation. Threading through the contributions is the notion of egalitarian participatory democracy, and among the topics discussed are immigration rights activism, the participatory potential of hip hop culture, and the porous boundary between public and private space on social media. The opportunities presented for political efficacy through digital media to people who otherwise might not be easily heard also raise a host of questions about how to define and#147;good participation:and#8221; Does the ease with which one can now participate in online petitions or conversations about current events seduce some away from serious civic activities into and#147;slacktivism?and#8221;
and#160;Drawing on a diverse body of theory, from Hannah Arendt to Anthony Appiah, From Voice to Influence offers a range of distinctive visions for a political ethics to guide citizens in a digitally connected world.
and#8220;For anyone who thinks that the Internet has created a whole new order, From Voice to Influence ought to be essential reading. This is a very important and valuable book, rich with fascinating case studies and pertinent data.and#8221;
andquot;From #blacklivesmatter to the DREAMer movement, from Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring, recent social movements have raised questions about how networked participation and civic expression are shaping what counts as politics in the twenty-first century. From Voice to Influence
assembles a multidisciplinary mix of key thinkers to ask hard questions about the shifting nature of the public sphere, the values of deliberation and expression, the continued importance of disinterestedness and cosmopolitanism, the nature of civic agency, and the impact of new technologies of media production and circulation. Each contribution here is original, provocative, thoughtful, and grounded, and each helps us to understand more fully what it means to come of age as a civic agent in todayandrsquo;s media landscape.andrdquo;
The radical sea change in information and communications technologies over the last two decades has profound implications for how we conceive ofand#151;and experienceand#151;political participation and democratic citizenship.and#160; To explore and explain this transformation, Danielle Allen and Jennifer S. Light have gathered together a stellar roster of political and social theorists, media analysts, and social scientists. Despite the contributorsand#8217; diverse disciplinary backgrounds, common questions and themes bridge and integrate their pieces, especially the notion of egalitarian participatory democracy. The experiences of youth with new media especially have called into question our traditional understandings of politics, and they serve as the point of departure for the volumeand#8217;s investigations of citizenship in the digital age. With the political no longer confined to the institutional and electoral arenas, the volume explores participation in hip hop culture, immigration rights activism, and the porous boundary between private and public in social media. How does Facebook interact with governmental interests and regulation?and#160; How have on-line mobilizations such as the protest against the Komen Foundationand#8217;s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood changed the nature of political action?and#160; Finally, From Voice to Influence argues that the opportunities presented by new media for ordinary people to be politically effective raise novel questions about how to define and#147;good participation.and#8221; What stance should we adopt toward others who are socially, culturally, and geographically far removed but with we now interact with easily? Drawing on democratic theory and the insights of thinkers ranging from Hannah Arendt to Anthony Appiah, the contributors offer a range of distinctive visions for a political ethics to guide citizens in a digitally connected world.
About the Author
Danielle S. Allen is the UPS Foundation Professor of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She isand#160;a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought.and#160;and#160;Jennifer S. Light is professor of science, technology, and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of From Warfare to Welfare and The Nature of Cities.