Digital citizenship? Narrative exchange and the changing terms of civic culture

Nick Couldry, Hilde Stephansen, Aristea Fotopoulou, Richard MacDonald, Wilma Clark, Luke Dickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the possibilities for new forms of ‘digital citizenship’ currently emerging through digitally supported processes of narrative exchange. Using Dahlgren’s (Dahlgren, P. 2003. “Reconfiguring Civic Culture in the New Media Milieu.” In Media and the Restyling of Politics, edited by J. Corner, and D. Pels, 151–170. London: Sage; Dahlgren, P. 2009. Media and Political Engagement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.) circuit of ‘civic culture’ as a model for exploring the interlinking preconditions for new acts of citizenship, we discuss the contrasting outcomes of research at three fieldwork sites in the North of England – educational (a sixth form college), civil society (a commu- nity reporters’ network) and social (a local club). Each site provided clear evidence of the elements of Dahlgren’s circuit (some depending on the intensive use of digital infrastructure, others predating it), but there were also breaks in the circuit that constrained its effectiveness. A crucial factor in each case for building a lasting circuit of civic culture (and an effective base for new forms of digital citizenship) is the role that digital infrastructure can play in extending the scale of interactions beyond the purely local.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-629
Number of pages15
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.


  • digital citizenship
  • civic culture: circuit
  • narrative exchange
  • digital storytelling
  • communities of practice


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