Enlightening Confusion: How Contradictory Findings Help Mitigate Problematic Trends in Digital Democracies

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Editorial | Open Access

Enlightening Confusion: How Contradictory Findings Help Mitigate Problematic Trends in Digital Democracies


  • Cornelia Mothes Department of Culture, Media, and Psychology, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Jakob Ohme Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany


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Abstract:  This thematic issue includes ten articles that address previous contradictions in research on two main trends in digital democracies: news avoidance and political polarization. Looking at these contradictions from different angles, all contributions suggest one aspect in particular that could be important for future research to investigate more specifically possible countermeasures to harmful trends: the individualized, self-reflective way in which media users nowadays engage with political content. The increasingly value-based individualization of media use may be a hopeful starting point for reversing harmful trends to some degree by addressing individual media users as a community with a common base of civic values, rather than addressing them in their limited social group identities.

Keywords:  civic norms; corrective action; disinformation; media trust; news avoidance; political polarization; politicized self; populism; selective exposure; social identity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v10i3.6155


© Cornelia Mothes, Jakob Ohme. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.