This week I’ll be presenting my analysis of the fragmentation of the public sphere from the perspective of the Austrian citizens at the 3-Country-Conference “Politics of Diversity” in Innsbruck (on Friday, Sep. 20th). Based on a secondary analysis of a standardized survey on the usage of all 68 Austrian general news media (print, TV, radio and online) I can show that 17 percent of the Austrian citizens are either only precariously or not at all connected to the Austrian public sphere via news media. By expanding the opportunity-ability-motivation-model (Luskin, 1990) with an additional dimension (=trust) to account for the particular characteristics of public connection or news exposure as a form of political participation, I have developed a theoretical model to explain the different degrees of public connection: The duty to keep informed as well as talking with others about politics emerge as key predictors of public connection. Furthermore, disconnected citizens are characterized by a distinct lack of trust in both the political system and the media.
Please follow the link for the conference programme.