Civic Cultures and Skills in European Digital Rights Campaigning

Civic Cultures and Skills in European Digital Rights Campaigning

Yana Breindl (Georg-August University Göttingen, Germany)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6066-3.ch017
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Abstract

Technical skills are increasingly necessary to successfully intervene in policy-making, especially when dealing with technical matters such as Internet or telecommunications regulation. Skills are rooted in experience and cultural practices. Dahlgren's concept of civic cultures is used in this chapter to investigate the cultural underpinnings of the emergent European digital rights movement that has repeatedly targeted EU legislation on copyright enforcement, software patents, and the Internet. The values and identity of the movement are investigated along with the way knowledge and information are processed and trust established through repeated practices in a variety of online and offline spaces. The analysis illustrates how digitally skilled actors can substantially affect policy-making by disrupting the course of parliamentary law-making at the European level. However, technical skills need to be complemented by social and political competencies to gain access and provide convincing input to political institutions that increasingly rely on extra-institutional expertise.
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Political Agency In The Digital Age

Political agency refers to the possibilities for political action a person holds. It constitutes the point of departure for political participation. For Dahlgren (2007; 2009), political agency contrasts with formal and state-centred notions of citizenship that insist on rights and obligations that should be universally and equally received by all citizens. The concept of political agency considers that differences are the point of departure for civic participation. It resonates with tenants of radical democracy who believe that conflict is an inherent part of democracy in that different groups are continually negotiating positions while remaining committed to democratic values and procedures. Political agency embodies thus the notion of “achieved” citizenship (Dahlgren, 2009).

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