Review by Choice Review
Dahlgren (Lunds Universitet, Sweden) thoughtfully addresses the theoretical and conceptual issues involved in an understanding of how and why citizens become politically involved and sustain political engagement. Particularly important is the author's nuanced discussion of the role of communication and the media in democracies, and his challenge to "economism" or the tendency "to assert the priority of economic criteria over all other values or modes of reasoning." Dahlgren's view leans toward republicanism, emphasizing "citizenship as a dimension of identity grounded in agency, within the context of pluralistic interest." Substantively, he examines the bearing of television and the Internet on six dimensions of civic cultures: knowledge, values, trust, spaces, practices, and identities. Unfortunately, the timing of the publication did not allow for a thorough discussion of the Obama campaign's innovative use of media during the 2008 US election. In his concluding chapter, Dahlgren focuses on how journalism is evolving online, how nongovernmental organizations use the Internet to lobby within the EU, and how alter-globalization movements use the Internet. Overall, the book is a welcome addition to the literature on political communication in a changing media environment. Summing Up: Recommended. All undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. L. J. Roselle Elon University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.