Towards the de-Institutionalisation of e-democratic governance?

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Speech by Brian D. Loader - University of York - at the conference “E-democracy 2.0. Istituzioni, cittadini, nuove reti: un lessico possibile” [Bologna, 8 aprile 2009].

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Towards the de-Institutionalisation of e-democratic governance?

  1. 1. Panel 1Towards the de-Institutionalisation of e-democratic governance? Brian D. Loader Bologna - 8 aprile 2009
  2. 2. Web 2.0 & de-institutionalization?New media often brings huge optimism about itsdemocratising potential.Web 2.0 - user-generated content, mass collaboration &sharing of intellectual property - is latest example.I want to suggest that new media may facilitate a trend of de-institutionalization but that it does not determine a democraticfuture.Rather new media techonologies should themselves be seen asphere of contestation between competing conceptions ofdemocracy.
  3. 3. What kind of democracy are we talking about?• Discussions about how ICTs can/cannot democratise ourpolitical systems are too often conducted in a vacuum -institutional change is influenced from without!• Different models produce different objectives/evaluations• Two competing perspectives - 1. Participatory models 2. Liberal modelsLatter, as neo-liberalism, has dominated the shape of e-democracy
  4. 4. Mediated Democracy?•State - e-government - re-connecting citizens - surveillance state•Civil Society - re-energizing democracy? - Community Politics Online? - Social movements online - Web 2.0 a new public sphere?
  5. 5. E-Government?- Neo-liberal response to major environmental challenges topost-war Liberal-Welfare-States-Re-engineering Government? Networked Informationalorganisations-Privatisation of public info systems-de-professionalisation- Welfare Direct - remote control of populations
  6. 6. Re-Connecting Citizens?Or customer market research?
  7. 7. Surveillance State?•Joined-up government - e-government efficiencies•National databases•National ID cards•CCTV•Politics of fear – security, terrorism, cybercrime, cyberwar
  8. 8. Civil Society:re-energizing democracy?•Political Parties Online•Campaigning•E-voting•But…ease of voting does not necessarily lead toactive engagement, commitment, democracticlearning.
  9. 9. Community Politics Online?Community Informatics/Community Networking localdemocratic politics•Social Sorting•Splintering Urbanisation and premium spaces•Fragmentation of civil society preventing deliberation
  10. 10. Social Movements Online? For many the most important means to develop participatory democracy
  11. 11. Web 2.0 a new public sphere?The lastest battleground for contested notions of democracyParticipatory e-democracy?- User generated content - citizen journalists- Mass Collaboration- Sharing culture & democratic practices emerging?Liberal democracy- dataveillance - state captures user-generated content?- Little brothers watching?- Social movements will have to compete harder in media- saturated world.

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