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Non-participation in digital media. Toward a framework of mediated political action


This article explores the notion of digital non-participation as a form of mediated political action rather than as mere passivity. We generally conceive of participation in a positive sense, as a means for empowerment and a condition for democracy. However, participation is not the only way to achieve political goals in the digital sphere and can be hampered by the ‘dark sides’ of participatory media, such as surveillance or disempowering forms of interaction. In fact, practices aimed at abandoning or blocking participatory platforms can be seen as politically significant and relevant. We propose here to conceptualize these activities by developing a framework that includes both participation and non-participation. Focusing on the political dimensions of digital practices, we draw four categories: active participation, passive participation, active non-participation, and passive non-participation. This is not intended as a conclusive classification, but rather as a conceptual tool to understand the relational nature of participation and non-participation through digital media. The evolution of the technologies and practices that compose the digital sphere forces us to reconsider the concept of political participation itself.

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