The Electronic Republic?: The Impact of Technology on Education for Citizenship
Co-editors: Phillip VanFossen and Michael Berson
Contributing authors: Marsha Alibrandi and Andrew J. Milson
Marsha Alibrandi (with A. Milson) is a contributing author, "Critical Map Literacy and Geographic Information Systems: The Spatial Dimension of Civic Decision-Making".
Book description: In 1991, Lawrence Grossman wrote that "a new political system is taking shape in the United States. As we approach the twenty-first century, America is turning into an electronic republic, a democratic system that is vastly increasing the people's day-to-day influence on decisions of state." Grossman's forecast implied a sea change in the way citizens would interact with, and participate in, their representative government; a revamping of the way Americans would 'do' citizenship. Harnessing the power of technology to promote the ideal of democracy that first pulsed through our nation over 230 years ago may be a feasible achievement in a technocratic age, but whether technology can help achieve a revolution as seismic as the political one that our founding fathers initiated may be a practical impossibility. Fusing the power of technology and democratic ideals opens opportunities for greater access to information and offers a medium for people to be heard and express their voice with dissemination to the masses through digital tools, such as blogs, podcasts, and wikis. Indeed, the emergence of the Internet as a nearly ubiquitous element of American society has brought about new opportunities to enhance citizen engagement in democratic politics and to increase the level of civic engagement among American citizens. Despite such rhetoric, however, research has indicated that Grossman's "electronic republic" has, for the most part, failed to come to fruition.
Milson, A. & Alibrandi, M. (2008). Critical Map Literacy and Geographic Information Systems: The Spatial Dimension of Civic Decision-Making. In Berson, M. & VanFossen, P. (Eds.) The Electronic Republic?: The Impact of Technology on Education for Citizenship. Purdue Press.
VanFossen, Phillip; Berson, Michael J.; Alibrandi, Marsha; and Milson, Andrew J., "The Electronic Republic?: The Impact of Technology on Education for Citizenship" (2008). GSEAP Faculty Book and Media Gallery. 34.