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Paperback | $26.00 Short | £15.95 | ISBN: 9780262514897 | 480 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 21 b&w illus.| August 2010

Digital Media and Democracy

Tactics in Hard Times
Edited by Megan Boler


In an age of proliferating media and news sources, who has the power to define reality? When the dominant media declared the existence of WMDs in Iraq, did that make it a fact? Today, the "social web" (sometimes known as Web 2.0, groupware, or the participatory Web)—epitomized by blogs, viral videos, and YouTube—creates new pathways for truths to emerge and makes possible new tactics for media activism. In Digital Media and Democracy, leading scholars in media and communication studies, media activists, journalists, and artists explore the contradiction at the heart of the relationship between truth and power today: the fact that the radical democratization of knowledge and multiplication of sources and voices made possible by digital media coexists with the blatant falsification of information by political and corporate powers.

The book maps a new digital media landscape that features citizen journalism, The Daily Show, blogging, and alternative media. The contributors discuss broad questions of media and politics, offer nuanced analyses of change in journalism, and undertake detailed examinations of the use of Web-based media in shaping political and social movements. The chapters include not only essays by noted media scholars but also interviews with such journalists and media activists as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Media Matters host Robert McChesney, and Hassan Ibrahim of Al Jazeera.

Contributors and Interviewees:
Shaina Anand, Chris Atton, Megan Boler, Axel Bruns, Jodi Dean, Ron J. Deibert, Deepa Fernandes, Amy Goodman, Brian Holmes, Hassan Ibrahim, Geert Lovink, Nathalie Magnan, Robert McChesney, Graham Meikle, Susan D. Moeller, Alessandra Renzi, Ricardo Rosas, Andréa Schmidt, Trebor Scholz, D. Travers Scott, R. Sophie Statzel, Stephen Turpin.

Digital Media and Democracy: tactics in hard times received the Critic’s Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association in 2010.

About the Editor

Megan Boler is Professor in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and editor of Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times (MIT Press). 


"Digital Media and Democracy's distinctive value lies in Boler's effort to balance traditional scholarly issues with more practical, activist concerns.... This volume offers a rare engagement with decidedly practical political concerns, addressed it seems, as much to activists as to academics. ... Useful and insightful.", Michael A. Xenos, Information Communication and Society

"Digital Media and Democracy is an essential resource for scholars and students of the interfaces, synergies, and interstices between democracy, politics, media, and activism.", Mark Hayes, Media International Australia

"An ideal introduction to tactical media. All the chapters come from academics and activists who have made significant contributions to the field. The editing of the collection excels at putting these authors in dialogue, often referencing and responding to each other's ideas. The reflexivity of the book opens up more questions than it answers--exactly the task of a book that will be a great inspiration for the next wave of media activists.", Fenwick Robert McKelvey, Canadian Journal of Communication

"Digital Media and Democracy shows how voices of dissent can come from many different quarters as people utilize the resources they have available in new and innovative ways.", David Stuart, Online Information Review

"This book provides a valuable critique of modern media institutions and their effects on political realities…. This volume provides a fantastic introduction for those beginning to examine digital media. As Digital Media and Democracy reminds us, no one ought to feel immune to the authority that intersects and transcends institutional technologies. We must always examine how our own biases and political positions are molded by digital media." , Jason Scott,  Logos: a journal of modern society & culture

"One of the important issues raised in the volume is the influence of political economy and the corporate nature of media industry…The examination of alternative forms of media, which are articulated on the ground and away from powerful media institutions, provides a productive insight into the processes and logic of not only well-established (like Al Jazeera) but also marginalized producers.", Galina Miazhevich, Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian, and Central European New Media 

"In this anthology many different tactics are explained and documented, with an impressive attention on news and constructed narratives in reports. But it's not really a self-celebrating anthology. Jodi Dean's chapter …is examining different complications related to the web 2.0-based platforms, questioning the ultra-positive conception of technology typically discussed by tech-savvy activists." 2009 review in