Despite the transnational interconnected nature of the internet, cross-national comparisons in internet usage and their effects are still relatively scarce. Moreover, one of the core intrinsic properties that internet theorists have distinguished, the ability to increase democracy and ‘global understanding’ through its connectivity, has hardly been empirically studied. This paper examines how internet usage affects individuals’ openness to other cultures: cosmopolitanism. I analyze two manifestations of such openness: first, the cosmopolitan orientation toward other cultures in the broad sense; second, the interest in foreign cultural expressions. Using Eurobarometer data on 29 European countries, the results show that interactive internet practices are positively associated with openness to foreign culture. Buying culture online is positively related to interest in concrete expressions, but negatively to cosmopolitan orientation. Importantly, individual effects on cosmopolitan orientation are often moderated by the country people live in, whereas effects on interest in foreign expressions are more stable across Europe.

, , , , ,,
Information, Communication and Society
Department of Media and Communication

Verboord, M. (2017). Internet usage and cosmopolitanism in Europe: a multilevel analysis. Information, Communication and Society, 20(3), 460–481. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2016.1187193