This book is the first to comprehensively analyse the political and societal impacts of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in a region of the Global South. It evaluates under what conditions some Latin American governments and people have succeeded in taking up the opportunities related to the spread of ICTs, while others are confronted with the pessimist scenario of increased, digitally induced social and democratic cleavages. Specifically, the book examines if and how far the spread and use of new ICT affected central aims of democratic governance such as reducing socio-economic and gender inequality; strengthening citizen participation in political decision making; increasing the transparency of legislative processes; improving administrative processes; providing free access to government data and information; and expanding independent spaces of citizen communication. The country case and cross-country explore a range of bottom-up driven initiatives to reinforce democracy in the region. The book offers researchers and students an interdisciplinary approach to these issues by linking it to established theories of media and politics, political communication, political participation, and governance. Giving voice to researchers native to the region and with direct experience of the region, it uniquely brings together contributions from political scientists, researchers in communication studies and area studies specialists who have a solid record in political activism and international development co-operation.

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