PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Harold Jansen

The Impact of Digital Technology on Democratic Citizenship in Canada

Dr. Harold Jansen, Department of Political Science

Two decades ago, the Internet went from being the preserve of the technologically proficient to a medium of mass communication. The rapid adoption of this new form of communication raised hopes among many political scholars that digital technology might revitalize democratic citizenship. The hope was that by making it easier and less costly to gather information, communicate with fellow citizens, and interact with political elites, digital technology might help to reduce inequities in political participation by mobilizing people who have traditionally been politically disengaged. Digital technology was seen as a way of enriching the practice of democratic citizenship by making it richer and deeper. Twenty years later, digital technology is everywhere, but there are few signs of a democratic renaissance. In this presentation, Harold Jansen will look at what happened to this early hope and discuss the ways democratic citizenship has and has not been transformed by this communications revolution.

Dr. Harold Jansen has never been shy to profess his love for the political world, nor his desire to see the general populace more informed about and engaged by the democratic process. It shaped his academic career, both as a student and then as a professor in the University of Lethbridge’s Department of Political Science. It is also why he carried great expectations for what the digital revolution of the late 1990s might do for the political process. Read the full story here.

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