A decade ago, when the Internet began to emerge as a popular new mode of communication, many political scientists and social commentators surmised that technologies arising from its widespread use would revolutionize our democratic institutions. Today, voter turnout levels are at historic lows, while Internet usage is at historic highs. Can we still make the claim, then, that new information and communication technologies (ICTs) enhance democratic life in Canada? In fact, what effect is the increasing mediation of political communication by ICTs having on the practice of Canadian politics? How have such digital technologies affected the distribution of power in Canadian society? In Communication Technology, Darin Barney investigates the links between ICTs and our democratic processes. Framing his discussion around the Canadian Democratic Audit's central concerns of inclusiveness, public participation, and responsiveness, Barney argues that the potential of ICTs to contribute to a more democratic political system will remain largely untapped unless the more conventional dimensions of Canadian politics, the economy, and modes of governance are re-oriented.A highly original volume of the Canadian Democratic Audit, Communication Technology poses some provocative questions about the state of Canadian democracy and the place of ICTs in shaping and improving it.
Darin Barney is a Canada Research Chair in Technologyand Citizenship and a professor of communication studies at McGillUniversity.
Foreword Acknowledgments 1. Democracy, Technology, and Communication in Canada 2. The Politics of Communication Technology in Canada 3. Communication Technology, Globalization, and Nationalism inCanada 4. Technologies of Political Communication in Canada 5. Digital Divides 6. The Question Discussion Questions Additional Readings Works Cited Index