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In The Politics of the Internet: Political Claims-making in Cyberspace and Its Effect on Modern Political Activism, R.J. Maratea examines the Internet’s effect on political claims-making and protest action to show how online technology is helping to shape popular opinion about political issues. The Internet hosts a vast collection of interconnected public cyber-arenas where political claims are continuously disseminated to audiences and social reality is in a perpetual state of negotiation. Unlike more static forms of print and television communication, cyber-arenas can be expanded to carry a nearly infinite amount of claims in a variety of multimedia formats, which can be rapidly disseminated to global audiences for relatively little cost. The corresponding rise of citizen journalism and emergent forms of cyber-activism seemingly reflect how the Internet is revolutionizing the ways claimants attract audiences, acquire resources, and mobilize support, as well as the ways that mainstream journalists report on matters of political importance.
Maratea suggests that the Internet has not fundamentally changed how political activists attain cultural relevance. The press still largely determines what issues and activists are recognized by the public, and historically powerful claims-making groups, such as corporate lobbyists, are best positioned to succeed in a supposedly democratized new media world. The analysis offered in The Politics of the Internet will be of particular value to students and scholars of sociology, communications, and political science.