Media Use and Political Engagement: Cross-Cultural Approaches| Media Use and Political Engagement: Cross-Cultural Approaches—Introduction
Democracies around the world are struggling with the decline of civic and political engagement. At the same time, new forms of engagement such as lifestyle politics, Internet activism, and political consumerism are on the rise. In this introduction to the Special Section, we argue that citizens are increasingly engaging through informal, creative, and digitally networked activities, thereby moving political engagement into the domain of entertainment and personalized communication on the Internet and in social media. Moreover, we advocate a cross-cultural approach to explore how media use contributes to political participation in a globalized, mediatized world. The studies assembled in this Special Section show that political engagement through using media hinges on cultural parameters such as political structures, political leaders, press freedom, neo-tribes, degrees of tightness, postmaterialist values, norms, and localized versus centralized patterns of information disorder, to mention a few. Implications of the studies and suggestions for future research direction are discussed.