Digital Democracy: How Politics Online is Changing Electoral Participation

Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


This article investigates the evidence and debates over the influences of the internet on how, and how much, citizens participate. It concentrates on the knowledge and involvement of individual citizens. In particular, it describes how online participation affects 'offline' participation, the nature of participation, and political representation more generally. A key consideration is how internet use for information or participation differs from alternatives 'offline', and whether citizens' use of the internet actually causes, or merely reflects, changes in civic engagement and participation. It argues that the internet has the potential to transform participation in several important ways. The extant evidence reveals more about links between internet use and voting than how online politics affects the decision to vote. The literature about the differences in networks and participation online strongly suggests the need for more social network analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191584848
ISBN (Print)9780199235476
StatePublished - May 2 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizens
  • Digital democracy
  • Electoral participation
  • Internet
  • Offline participation
  • Online participation
  • Online politics
  • Voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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