The Power of the Bloggers

At Saturday I am going to present a paper about weblogging as a a new format of public communication and its meaning for international politics at the conference „Political ethics and international order“, Societas Ethica and The Society for the Study of Christian Ethics; Wadham College, Oxford, England.

The analysis of the relationship between public communication (mass media) and politics is part of political ethical reflection. The mass media are seen as means of controlling politics, as „the fourth power“ in the state. However, certain experiences – like the experience of the Iraq War – give cause for the presumption that the meaning of the media as a politically independent observer is overestimated. Obviously the power of the media can be misused by governances, especially in times of international conflicts.
Nowadays, an alternative to the mainstream media is constantly emerging: the weblogs. Weblogs are an additive source of news and opinions/sentiments. Yet you can hardly speak of a substitute for classical journalism. But the question is: are weblogs relevant to a global public sphere and what does this mean for political ethics in reference to international politics? I argue that weblogs enhance the possibilities of political communication and participation, also and especially in international contexts. They create and build a new form of a global public sphere in a special way and as a kind of addition to the mainstream media.

Outline and Keywords

1. What is a weblog?

  • Definitions, Web2.0, motivations for blogging, warblogs, examples

2. Public communication and international politics

  • Mass media as fourth power, the democratic dilemma of international politics, the meaning of the global public sphere, internet and democracy

3. The power of the bloggers – ethical implications of a new form of public communication in relation to international politics

  • Participation and globalisation, enhancement of possibilities of participation, weblogs as a solidary form of global public communication

For recommended further reading see the Handout (pdf).

As a matter of course: Comments are welcome.

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  1. […] Some hints and additional ressources for my presentation: […]

  2. […] Darüber hinaus geht aber die Forderung, bei heissen, also gesellschaftlich relevanten Themen mizudiskutieren. Dies erweitert den engeren Bereich medialer Teilhabe zu allgemein demokratierelevanten Teilhabechancen. Was also bedeutet es, wenn das Internet für eine demokratische Öffentlichkeit immer bedeutsamer wird (vgl. auch mein Vortrag zum Thema), aber z.B. Seniorinnen und Senioren daran gar nicht beteiligt sind? […]