In an exciting new title for Peter Lang Oxford Alec Charles analyses the impact of interactive media on contemporary politics and society. From the Arab Spring to the British summer riots of 2011, from the War on Terror to The X Factor, from social networking sites to online electioneering the influence of new media technology is clear to see. Interactivity explores how new media technologies give their users a sense of empowerment, but questions whether this empowerment is simply an illusion:
When viewers cast their votes in reality television shows, is that really a form of democratic participation?
Does Facebook actually enhance the quality of its users’ friendships and increase their social capital?
Does the video game player develop the liberating agency the game appears to promise?
Do online forms of politics essentially increase levels of democratic involvement?
Will Wikipedia truly teach us anything?
Can Web 2.0 ever set us free?
Drawing upon interviews with figures from politics and the media, this book examines the possibilities which underlie these technologies and questions some of the key assumptions which we have made about them.
Alec Charles is Principal Lecturer in Media at the University of Bedfordshire, and has previously taught at universities in Estonia, Japan and Cornwall, UK. He has made documentaries for BBC Radio, has worked as a print journalist in eastern Europe and has written for British Journalism Review, Journalism Education and Tribune. He is the editor of Media in the Enlarged Europe (2009) and co-editor of The End of Journalism (2011). His recent publications include papers in Science Fiction Studies and Science Fiction Film & Television, as well as chapters in various books on film, television, literature and new media.