Enhancing citizen engagement

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This chapter discusses the function of blogs as tools enhancing citizen participationin political communication. Adopting the perspective of corpus-assistedcritical discourse analysis, a set of blogs from the US presidential electioncampaign are analysed in order to determine the frequency of reference tothe candidates, the parties, as well as the bloggers themselves. The analysis ofpronoun choice, verbs and modality indicate that blogs enhance participationrhetoric. The data further indicate that citizen bloggers attach more importanceto individual political figures than party bloggers do. The tendency to referto the candidates rather than to their political affiliation may be explained asevidence that people not belonging to parties interpret politics as a strugglebetween different politicians and not between different ideologies. Since thelanguage representation of the political scene in citizens’ blogs shows distincttraces of the ongoing process of personalization of politics, the political blog canbe considered as a “tool of citizen empowerment”.


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