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Title: Democratic spaces, delayed utopias : political exile, advocacy journalism and online discourse
Author: Ebeling, Mary F. E.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3437 7859
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis explores the online practices of two groups: a group of political exiles from Sudan and the other an alternative media organisation, to examine how people construct meanings of democracy. Both groups use online technologies to archive, reproduce, advocate, build arguments, and maintain and expand their social and political networks and offer democratic alternatives in politically restrictive environments. Key results from the research show that online political culture, at least as it is practiced by the groups in this study, are burgeoning novel definitions of democracy and disrupting or ignoring established, liberal models. The research reported on in the thesis is based on a 24-month qualitative study of online and offline discursive practices. Fieldwork involved participatory work with Democracy Now!, an independent news programme based in New York City and broadcast on television and radio, with a growing online presence, and the Republican Brothers, a Sufi brother and sisterhood in exile from Sudan, with many members now living in the United Kingdom and the United States. Much of the literature about online democracy has focused on either established democratic political institutions, such as parliament or elections, or on deliberative sites, such as political news groups. Most research in the e-democracy literature assumes a liberal democratic model as the basis for online democracy. While this research has made important progress in establishing how social scientists can study democracy online and to expand discussions on public spheres, pluralism, and mediated political communication, many studies have produced mixed results on how well online technologies support and extend political culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available