Abstract: The field of critical digital literacy studies has burgeoned in recent years as a result of the increased cultural consumption of digital media as well as the turn to the production of digital media forms. This article extends extant digital literacy studies by focusing on its subfield of digital citizenship. Proposing that digital citizenship is not another dimension or axis of citizenship, but a practice through which civic activities in the various dimensions of citizenship are conducted, this article critically considers how the concept of digital citizenship can furnish further insight into the quality of online civic participation that results in claims to and acts of citizenship. Through interdisciplinary scholarship, drawing from critical media and cultural theory, and media psychology, and deriving new empirical data from qualitative digital ethnography and quantitative focus group and survey studies, it presents original case studies with young people in Southeast Asia, including young Muslim women’s groups in Indonesia and youth public opinion on LGBTs in Singapore. It argues that Southeast Asian youth digital citizenship foregrounds civic participation as emergent acts that not only serve to make society a better place, but also enacts alternative publics that characterise new modes of civic-making in more conservative, collectivistic Southeast Asian societies.
Keywords: digital citizenship; digital literacy; Indonesia; online civic participation; Singapore; Southeast Asia