Civil Society and Systems of Political Communication

Philip N. Howard

in The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736416
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866441 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

Civil Society and Systems of Political Communication

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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

Chapter.  10210 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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