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Political Participation Online: The Replacement and the Mobilisation Hypotheses Revisited

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This article discusses the state of political participation online more than ten years after the
Internet’s great popular breakthrough as an everyday medium. Denmark is used as a case
study to critically re-examine the frequently discussed replacement and mobilisation hypotheses on behalf of the Internet. The pure replacement hypothesis is rejected. Instead, it is found
that the Internet still supplements rather than replaces other media, even among heavy Internet users. The Internet is one among several media used by ‘media omnivores’, and political
participation online supplements rather than substitutes offline participation. More interesting,
the mobilisation hypothesis is partly confirmed. Even though some online participation patterns resemble traditional ones, it seems as if the Internet finally is starting to mobilise younger
generations. Further, traditional predictors behind political participation, efficacy and social
capital seem to have less impact on online political participation. In the end, these findings are
related to more overall discussions on the democratising potential of the Internet.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Political Studies
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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