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La référence au débat public et à l'action politique dans les blogs locaux à caractère politique : la place de deux normes dans l'espace public local

Abstract : The reference to public debate and political action in local political blogs: the place of two norms in the local public sphere local politicians, such as mayors, members of towns' councils or leaders of the local federations of political parties, today use technologies known as "web 2.0". the characteristic of such tools is to allow internet users to publish their opinions through various systems. Blogs are one of these web 2.0 tools used by French politicians for several years now (Greffet, 2006). these websites allow readers interacting with bloggers through comments available under articles. at the same time, some inhabitants of various localities also use blogs to publish articles about the local political life. i call the group of blogs composed by these two categories: local political blogs. indeed, the confrontation of the practices of actors with different status (politicians and inhabitants, but also journalists and communication officers in local institutions) allows un derstanding the contemporary transformations of the public sphere linked to its territories.this text questions the normative side of the practices of communication actors in the local political life, by considering it inside the contemporary evolutions of the public sphere (Miège, 2010). i formulated a hypothesis that considers public debate and political action as two normative references shaping the local political bloggers practices. these practices participate in the mutations of the public sphere, in particular through an increase of the available information and through a transformation of its links with politics.i evaluated this hypothesis on 41 blogs representing all local political blogs inside two French localities: the urban areas of Clermont-Ferrand and Grenoble. this corpus was studied through a systematic content's analysis conducted during 15 months in 2008 and 2009, and 28 semi-directive interviews of bloggers. there are three main kinds of results.1. the public debate is an essential side of the role given by bloggers to their communication tools. according to them, blogs open a space for discussion and make available new opinions into the public debate. on one side, it compensates the lacks in the current local public debates. on the other side, the quality of discussions taking place on blogs is considered as globally bad. Politicians paradoxically consider blogs and their readers to impede the construction of a high quality debate. on the contrary, inhabitants who publish a blog consider the participation of readers to be essential. it represents for them the main quality of this technology and it contributes to its value. Despite these differences between the two categories of blogs, the ways bloggers comprehend the debate are similar. the vagueness around the notion of public debate shows that it is not really about elaborating a debate corresponding to a shared predefined democratic norm. For inhabitants bloggers, the systems of comments represent a surplus value: they feel thus "complementary" to other mediators of the local public sphere, rather than rival. For political bloggers, interactions with readers come with a desire to listen at citizens, which they consider being an essential task of contemporary politics. Finally public debate resemble above all to a norm whose modalities are not questioned by bloggers, and to a democratic imperative legitimating communication strategies of actors (especially the use of blogs and, more generally, web 2.0).2. at least in its political side, the local public sphere is therefore marked by legitimization strategies and processes concerning the access of local political actors to the public sphere. Publicisation and social visibility strategies (Voirol, 2005; thomson, 2005) developed through blogs can be read as strategies aiming at insuring actors' position in the local political mediation. Politicians' bloggers try to defend their abilities of action by defining the norms attached to political action. in a way, it consists in keeping their hands on the nature and the forms of political power, and therefore on the boundaries between what is and what is not politics. ICTs have a significant role in this process as they participate in its creation.3. Beyond the links between norms and local actors' practices, my study underlines some contemporary changes of the public sphere linked to the local level. Firstly, local political blogs participate -among other systems- in the increase of the production and the broadcast of information (Miège, 2007). the word information is though not so obvious to describe local political blogs' contents. But even if these contents do not always come within the traditional conception of information, they contribute to widen the forms of information effectively broadcasted. Blogs thus enlarge the local information available. they also participate in increasing the number of discourses about the local level and in specializing the publicisation process at the local level. nevertheless the local public sphere keeps a strong political side, through its permanent links to the political field and by being a sphere of appearance and legitimization.
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  • HAL Id : hal-00826071, version 2

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Simon Gadras. La référence au débat public et à l'action politique dans les blogs locaux à caractère politique : la place de deux normes dans l'espace public local. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. pp.263. ⟨hal-00826071v2⟩

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