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The Civic Organization and the Digital CitizenCommunicating Engagement in a Networked Age$
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Chris Wells

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190203610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190203610.001.0001

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Civic Organizations in the New Media Environment

Civic Organizations in the New Media Environment

(p.58) 3 Civic Organizations in the New Media Environment
The Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen

Chris Wells

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role that civic organizations have historically played, and continue to play, in American civic engagement. It especially recasts an element of that role that is usually underappreciated, but may be now coming to the fore: organizations’ capacity as providers of civic information, now buttressed by their work in digital and social media. It shows how citizen members of the early modern society both interacted with organizational communications and often had the opportunity to communicate in various forms that enabled them to define their own membership and influence the meanings and directions of the group. By the late twentieth century, however, this set of communicative practices had largely disappeared, replaced by the centralization of many organizations and increasingly strategic relations with publics. Thus even as the kernels of the actualizing information style were emerging, organizations’ information processes were going in the opposite direction.

Keywords:   civic organization, communicative autonomy, civic information, management, membership

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