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Internet and Political Attitudes - Essay Example

Ernt Internet and political attitudes: perspective of elections In Mexico In 2012 Manuel A. Guerrero, Luis M. Martinez Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Communications, Ciudad de M©xico The lack of participation in democratic processes is gaining attention along with a worldwide-diminished interest In public matters. Such characteristics are becoming a distinctive mark of a significant proportion of population In the democratic world (Dalton 2002, Putnam 2001).

However, since 1990s, authors such as Negroponte (1995) and Wellman (1 997), have been pointing out that ITCs and mainly the Internet are nabling new possibilities of participation. Due to better availability and improved information access. In England, it is reported that at the surrounding area of the university of Leeds the Internet Is helping their inhabitants to improve a number of skills and abilities, such as a faster acquisition of Information and a sense of exigency to polltlcal representatives originated In their online communltles. This paper shows evidence of the dimension of such population characteristics in Mexico.

According to recent statistics, more than 64% of population lack of interest in olitics and 72. 3% avoid discussing politics (ENCUP, 2008). However, current research such as the aforementioned survey, lacks of information regarding the impact of Internet. We show the experimental results of enriching the ENCUP (Encuesta Nacional sobre Cultura Politica y Prcticas Cludadanas, National Survey on Political Culture and Citizenship) results with those of the National Survey of Youth (ENJUVE). As a result of the experiment, we discuss how the use of Internet promotes more interest in politics and social participation, focusing in Mexico.

Finally, we discuss the ffect of Internet use in observed changes in confidence of politicians and their political parties. 1. Introduction When talking about democracy in the modern world, one of the most obvious concerns has to do with the evident lack of engagement and concern from the population in public affairs (Dalton 2002; Putnam 2001). However, since mid 1990’s, some authors (Negroponte 1995; Wellman 1997) have indicated that the new communications technologies, especially Internet, open greater possibilities of engagement and Information entries.

Also, In the adjacent areas to Leeds university, England, Coleman, Morrison and Svennevig (2008) show how the Internet use among population allows them to develop certain abilities, like faster information gathering, and certain meaning of demand against their political representatives beginning with community creation. This assignment pretends to show some evidence or the case In Mexico, a country where, according to the 2008 ENCUP (Encuesta Nacional sobre Cultura Politica y Prctlcas Ciudadanas, National Survey on Polltlcal Culture politics and 72. % stays clear or simply keep their feeling to themselves when tarting to talk about politics. Since this survey lacks data on internet use, this survey takes as starting point the 2005 Youth National Survey (IMJUVE) and through an experiment based on survey and follow through discuss if in Mexico, Internet use stimulates the concern and engagement in politics; and the use of internet, favors the degree of trust in politicians and the political parties. 2.

Methodology Mexico’s case is interesting to prove certain hypothesis about the use of Internet and political attitudes given the low degrees of concern and involvement that have typified this society. Above all, we must point out that we forgo to talk or subscribe an explicit technological determinism in which the mere technology availability leads almost by necessity to their smart functions. At the beginning of the 1980’s, De Sola Pool (1983) developed the concept of “Soft technological determinism” to refer to the way in which technological development interacts with other factors so they can influence the users.

Therefore, the technology impact is neither one-way nor immediate (De Sola Pool, 1983: 5). This is based on a rather obvious premise: broadcasting of communication instruments remotely helps he freedom to notify and, however, its monopolization and shortage act against this freedom. This is crucial, because what is being emphasized is the fact that the problem is not technology itself, but its proper broadcast what helps explain that they could have a better use in the public area in favor of a more lively and open society.

When Rogers (1995), recaptured a tradition that began in the 1940’s, in Europe and the United States, he talked about an eligible technological “broadcast” when referring to the ways in which individuals, groups, organizations or society as a whole accept and take technology through particular uses. Once this issue has been cleared, it is necessary to specify the way in which we proceed in this assignment to discuss aspects mentioned before, as if the use of Internet helps the concern in politics and involvement and if the use of the Internet helps the degree of trust in politicians and parties. 00 surveys were applied, with rating questions, during June and July 2009 to people that were previously selected based on their use of Internet as their main source of information. The survey was used as method, and because it was an experimental study there was no descriptive sample. Therefore, the results and findings must be considered a base for the creation of hypothesis and, in any event, as general trends pointer instead of a specific interrelations pointer.

The respondents of this research were chosen according to their use of Internet and the answers were taken only from those who belong to a social network and use the web as their main source to gather information on public life. That resulted in 170 valid surveys, which were analyzed through the SPSS program. The sample was were between 18 and 40 years old, and by education (schooling), 64% are in or already finished college. The surveys were applied in 10 areas in Mexico City, which include upper/mid-upper (A/B), middle (C+), lower-middle (C) and popular lower middle class (D+) sectors.

There were 11 questions presented to the participants related to their use of Internet and three subjects: degrees of involvement concern and trust in politics. In the questionnaire the respondents were asked to give an e-mail address, in order to ask them if they had gone to vote or not once the electoral process is finished. The low rate of answers to our afterward poll – only 36. 5% of the respondents, 62 people – obstructs the spread of these results. . Political attitudes and the Internet In the mid 1990’s, Internet started a debate related with the type of impacts it may cause in the attitudes and the political conduct.

On one hand, authors like Putnam (2002) or Margolis and Resnick (2000) anticipated that the tendencies would be towards a greater break up of the engagement and the civic concern. Moreover, some surveys have shown that Internet impact is minimum and doesn’t change much the way in which things already occurred (Scheufele and Nisbet 2002; Drew and Weaver 2006). Secondly, authors like Negroponte (1995) or Rheingold (2000) sustained that Internet would open bigger possibilities to canalize, at least a better-informed engagement.

In this sense, Boulianne sustained that the Internet impacts in the political attitudes begin to show after communities and exchanges are adapted which although they don’t begin from the political point, they have impacts in this environment (Boulianne 2009). Today there are other studies, which clearly show a positive influence on the use of Internet in political attitudes. For example based on the volume of information available and the interactivity created based on Web 2. 0 Olan and Jeffres 2008; Colombo, Gala’s and Gallego 2009).

In Mexico’s case, the data on Internet use and politics included in the 2005 National Youth Survey show a clear positive trend. The following charts show data on Internet use and ways of commitment, degrees of concern in politics and vote assessment. Also, we show the data thrown by the test of Chi-squared relating to the existence of interrelations and Pearson’s correlation to show the strength and meaning of the interrelations found. Chart 1 show data related to Internet use and politics concern. Chart 1 Use of the Internet and interest in Politics I Do you know how to use the Internet ?