Building virtual spaces: Young people, participation and the internet

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    The Internet is often portrayed as a democratising force that facilitates new participatory practices. It is often assumed that young people have been the big ‘winners’, even the leaders, in the advent of participation via the Internet. It is argued here that an in-depth analysis of existing participatory spaces is able to expand our understanding of how Australian young people are being mobilised into new Internet-based political practices. The article provides case studies of three non-government organisations with participatory Internet sites – Vibewire Youth Services, Inspire Foundation and GetUp!. The novelty of these youth-led, Internet-based political spaces is evaluated, and the differences between the sites reveals varied approaches to liberal, communitarian and deliberative forms of participation. The level of interactivity, capacity for agency by young people, and possibilities for community building, are all explored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-97
    JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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