Variables Relevant to Citizen Participatory Engagement in Technology-Mediated Democratic Systems

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (PhD)
Date created: 
Citizen participation in technology-mediated democracies
Engagement through political parties
Collective action
Community involvement
Mental processes and states
Information sources
Mediating institutions and technologies
High dimensional survey analysis

Without citizen participation, democracy is empty of meaning. The purpose of this mixed-mode study is to identify variables relevant to citizen participation in advanced technology-mediated democratic systems such as Canada. A particular interest is to understand the comparative relevance of technological channels of communication, used by media, citizens and other social actors, to citizen participation. The results are based on primary data from 304 responses to a comprehensive survey and 20 in-depth interviews conducted by the author. Associations between 1048 questions about seven classes of participation and five groups of predictors are analyzed. In analysis, only non-parametric ordinal methods are used. First, outstanding predictors for particular forms and classes of participation are identified. Then, theoretical implications regarding predictors relevant to most classes of participation are formulated. Big data false discovery rate criterion is used to deal with the issues of high dimensionality and to identify outstanding relevances. A strong sense of social responsibility for fairness (nationally, internationally, and in international relations), national altruism, the feeling of being oppressed, attention to rights and freedoms, and political, economic, social, and cultural issues are associated with all types of citizen participation. Independent sources, empowered by the Internet and the World Wide Web, have outstanding relevance to citizen participation. Web 2.0 and other Internet based channels, such as telecommunications applications and mobile apps, have provided additional spheres of dialogue and expression for participating citizens. In this study, hundreds of other significant associations regarding particular forms of participation are identified and reported. They have implications for many social actors including the government, educational and media organizations, producers, policy makers, political parties, unions, activists, and parents.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Richard Smith
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.