Politics and Emerging Media: The Revenge of Publicity

Darin Barney, in Politics and Emerging Media: the Revenge of Publicity investigates the prospective democratic involvement through Web 2. 0 platforms and social media sites. He achieves this by addressing the question that under the modern day political and economic conditions, “the normalization of information, communication, and participation may bolster existing regimes of power, inequality, and depoliticization rather than challeng[e] them. ” (Barney 92)

Barney discusses one of the key points in his analysis regarding how the progressive emergence of communication and information technologies will encourage democratic politics based on the proposition that increased awareness through communication will safeguard democratic justice for one and all. He refers to this popular notion as “normative agenda of publicity – of increased and improved public access to information, communication, and participation. (Barney 91) Barney believes that access to better communication and information opens various avenues for additional participation causing a resolution of problems and confusions related to democratic politics. He further adds that through the processes of information, communication, and participation greater numbers of people actively engage in intensive and consistent politics.

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For Barney, Participation in terms of democratic politics develops into “a form of compliance with, and legitimation of, undemocratic authority and discipline;” under undemocratic conditions, participation “converts to a principle of depoliticization, the very opposite of political action. ”(Barney 99) This increased participation associated with information technologies and social media offers innumerable opportunities to vote, rank, comment, tag, customize, and collaborate with others.

This collaboration could involve people that share the same or different political and/or economic views or opinions. Barney states that this is “a condition in which technologically enabled interactivity gratifies popular appetites for judgment and action without actually satisfying them politically. ” (Barney 101)