Publication details

Between ‘the village’ and ‘the city’: old and new media in the engagement and participation of the Czech citizens



Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description The paper presents findings from exploratory qualitative inquiry to the engagement and participation of the selected Czech citizens and from consequent quantitative survey of the Czech population. In general we are interested in how political and civic engagement and participation are experienced by post-socialist citizens and, in particular, what is the role of new media in the participatory practices. We employ context-oriented approach avoiding media-centric logic, building upon Nico Carpentier’s and Peter Dahlgren’s notion of participation and Maria Bakardjieva’s notion of subactivism connecting political participation with everyday life. The qualitative inquiry is based on 22 semi-structured qualitative interviews where one half of the interviewees are residents of small towns and villages and the other half are residents of large cities. The politically and publicly active middle-class respondents were interviewed in April 2014 and the findings indicate that (1) the Czech respondents experience similar crisis in their attitude towards politics as their Western counterparts, (2) that we do not encounter radical, new-media-driven transformation of the citizenship and practices and (3) that the split of the sample into the inhabitants of ‘the village’ and ‘the city’ creates strong dichotomy revealing specifics of the two opposite types of social spaces. We suggest that the way the respondents employ traditional and new media in their public and civic practices is distinct in communitarian space of the village and in socially and physically dispersed space of the city. In the survey (N=1998) conducted in November 2014 we follow the findings from qualitative inquiry and we test them on the representative sample of the Czech population. I.e. we look for significant differences in relation between engagement / participation, the role of (new) media in these practices and the types of the settlements.
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