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The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and DemocracyInformation Technology and Political Islam$
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Philip N. Howard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736416

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736416.001.0001

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Civil Society and Systems of Political Communication

Civil Society and Systems of Political Communication

(p.132) Chapter 5 Civil Society and Systems of Political Communication
The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

Philip N. Howard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops grounded theory about the role of information and communication technologies in civil society development. Civic groups are important for democratization because they are, by definition, social organizations independent of the state. Across the Muslim world, civic associations are sprouting up as a result of the new, supportive information infrastructure provided by ICTs. Relatively cheap consumer electronics allow such civic groups to find new members and build affiliations with groups in cities and other countries. Such groups are particularly important in Muslim countries where political parties are illegal. The chapter reviews the ways in which the internet has had an impact on the political pacts negotiated between social elites and authoritarian regimes—pacts that determine the pace of political change.

Keywords:   grounded theory, communication technology, civil society development, civic groups, internet, Muslim countries, political communication

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