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Bloggers and Political Participation in Canada

Thierry Giasson
Department of Political Science, Université Laval
Thierry Giasson
Department of Political Science, Université Laval
Harold Jansen
Ganaele Langlois
Open Panel

Abstract

Just as the number of online weblogs (blogs) has proliferated in recent years, so too has the number of academic studies of blogs. This is particularly true of blogs that are primarily political in nature. Scholars have explored the characteristics and activities of political bloggers as well as whether their activities qualify as a form of democratic deliberative engagement. However, what has been left unexplored is how political blogging is related to real-world engagement in politics. In this paper, we follow studies of bloggers in disciplines other than political science to ask: Does political blogging complement traditional forms of participation or is it in fact an alternate form of democratic engagement that has for bloggers superseded or even replaced real-world participation? Given declining levels of participation in politics, it is important to assess the extent to which alternate forms of political participation such as blogging may work to aggravate or counteract the problem. Drawing on an original survey of Canadian political bloggers, we explore how blogging (both writing on a blog and commenting on other blogs) is related to real-world engagement in elections, political parties, or interest groups.