192.1 The glocality of political cultures

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 2:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Flaminia SACCĄ , DEIM, Universitą della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
As Meyrowitz pointed out back in 1985 and again twenty years later (2005), every experience is eminently local. Nonetheless, new information technologies change our perception of time and space. Traditionally, the forming of political identities and cultures passed through local practices and face to face debates. But with the development of the mass media and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), every local experience or indeed, political issue, can be shared at a local, national and transnational level, as have efficaciously pointed out the recent video’s and blogs from Iranian, Libyan and Egyptian rebels.

Although participation through CMC does not always/often entail greater involvement of citizens in the decision making process, mass media and CMC strongly influence the ways citizens perceive the power in charge, reduce its “sacredness” and promote new actors proposing new issues for the local as much as the  global political agenda. Making citizens feel they too, can be political actors. Influencing what they know, what they feel and how they evaluate politics: the three dimensions of a political culture, according to the classic Almond and Verba theorization.  Allowing local, national, transnational political cultures to meet and confront. In short, new information technologies contribute to the formation of new interest groups, lobbies, activists, development of ideas and projects that can be local as much as global (Sassen 2008), while at a more general level, help the development of  a more global public opinion exercising its influence on local, national and transnational political institutions, working at the making of a down-top agenda. So, while global economic dynamics weaken the decision capacities of governments within the nation-states (Beck, 1999), this enlargement in the geography of civil society seems to represent the growth of a global public sphere (Habermas). A slow and uncertain process, though.