Political Spaces: Urban-Rural and Digital Divides in the Political Practices and Views of Atlantic Canadians
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Divides in political participation and political views are often explained “spatially,” where space can be either physical, as in urban-rural divides, or digital, as in “cyberspace.” These divides are more commonly invoked conceptually than tested empirically, particularly in secondary regions such as Atlantic Canada, where high-quality data is often scarce. How are these spaces, urban/rural and digital, affecting political practices and views in the region? This thesis offers a more nuanced story than is commonly told about the effects of these so-called divides and spaces on the political sphere. The analysis offered in the thesis finds that there are spatial effects, but gaps are often relatively small, especially for political participation. Moreover, despite higher levels of social conservatism in rural areas and greater polarization among digital citizens, the majority of Atlantic Canadians share relatively progressive attitudes. Fears of discord and disengagement abound, but, overall, there is a great deal of consensus in the region, as well as participation in a wide variety of political actions across urban/rural and digital spaces.