The POPC citizen: Political information in the fourth age of political communication | Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

Dorothée Hefner, Eike Mark Rinke, Frank M. Schneider
The POPC citizen: Political information in the fourth age of political communication

Pp. 199-207 in: Peter Vorderer, Dorothée Hefner, Leonard Reinecke, Christoph Klimmt (Eds.): Permanently online, permanently connected: Living and communicating in a POPC world. 2018. New York, NY: Routledge

Today’s POPC environment constitutes a high-choice, high-stimulation media ecology in which political information can be accessed easily, inexpensively, and constantly by almost every citizen. However, it also requires greater motivation from citizens to keep up and engage deeply with public affairs in view of a widening range of content options available to them. This chapter describes how the POPC environment, in tandem with citizens’ personal characteristics, alters the way they are exposed to and process political information. We map the contours of the contemporary “POPC citizen” and point out how the media ecology characterizing the so-called “fourth age of political communication” affects normatively important civic competencies and democracy at large.