Vision and Reality of Digital Democracy

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  • Paper: Jan van Dijk. Digital Democracy: Vision and Reality.

URL = http://www.utwente.nl/gw/vandijk/research/itv/itv_plaatje/Digital%20Democracy-%20Vision%20and%20Reality.pdf

looks at the claims and achievements of digital democracy in the last 25 years


Abstract

"Digital media have made a strong appeal to people wanting to improve democracy right from the start. Four waves of utopian visions of the last 25 years are described. The concept of digital democracy is defined. Subsequently, six views of both representative and direct democracy are distinguished that favor particular applications of digital media in politics and government. The next paragraph makes an inventory of the claims and achievements of 25 years of attempts to realize digital democracy in the field of information provision, online discussion and decision-making. It appears that information provision is the best realized claim. The final part of this chapter is about eParticipation in politics and policy. It discusses both government- and citizen-centric applications. Citizen-centric applications appear to be the most successful. Generally speaking, e-participation has not been successfully incorporated in institutional politics and government."


Discussion

Tiago Peixoto:

"Van Dijk’s paper adds to my list of readings on how little can be achieved by technology [PDF] in the absence of institutional change (something few seem to care about / understand).

But it also brings me to another issue that I think is not stressed enough: the current enthusiasm around technology and open government strikes me due to its lack of historical perspective. And, if history serves as any guide, advocates in the open government space would fare better in managing their (and others’) expectations about what can and cannot be achieved by technology." (http://democracyspot.net/2012/11/30/open-government-and-technology-groundhog-day/)