This article discusses online political debates in Denmark over a time period from 2001 to 2011 and compares three different online debates in 2011. By taking a time-based as well as a comparative perspective, it examines whether online debates have come closer to deliberative ideals of democracy and how online debates differ in form and content. The article particularly addresses the interplay between everyday and political discussions. It is demonstrated that shifts between the two forms of discussion often happen abruptly and that even people who tend not to become involved politically in a formal sense happily discuss politics in more informal, non-political settings. Furthermore, the article expands our understanding of demographic differences in political participation in debates online. All this helps enhance and broaden our concept of democracy in an online setting.
- online deliberation, democracy, debates, politics