Exploring the Empowerment Effects of the Internet on Active Publics

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2007-12-10

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The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of the Internet on the power of active publics using qualitative in-depth interviews with 19 human rights advocates. The study examines how the participants make meaning of power, use the Internet to achieve their goals, and the extent to which they feel empowered by the Internet. The results suggested four types of power in human rights advocacy, while advocates themselves rely primarily on the power of persuasion to achieve objectives. While the Internet has led to empowerment in some limited instances, no uniform empowerment for advocates was suggested by the data. The findings suggest numerous practical uses for Internet technologies in advocacy as well as important themes and theories to be incorporated into future studies.

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