National Internet Pro-voting Campaigns and Local Watchdog Websites: Practicing Civil Society Online

  • Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer
Chapter

Abstract

The chapter focuses on the reemergence of grassroots civic engagement in contemporary Poland. The national internet pro-voting campaigns and local watchdog websites show a departure from a detached and clientelistic approach to the state; rather, they point at people’s desire for civic engagement. While national internet pro-voting campaigns focus on encouraging people to cast their ballot, local watchdog websites provide independent news and offer space for discussion on local governments. They provide anonymity for people to discuss matters of public concern without the fear of being harassed by the authorities, yet with online visibility that has the power to influence them. I argue that these websites are public spaces where shared notions of a common good become visible and practiced. The Polish cases are put into broader perspective by looking at the influential role of the Rock the Vote campaigns, which succeeded in engaging young voters in the United States.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer
    • 1
  1. 1.Koźmiński UniversityWarsawPoland

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