Bi Directional Civic Activities Hayhtio & RinnePresentation Transcript
BI-DIRECTIONAL CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Reflexivity in administrational and actionist approaches Politics: Web 2.0: An International Conference New Political Communication Unit, Department of Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London, April 17-18, 2008. Tapio Häyhtiö (email@example.com) Jarmo Rinne (firstname.lastname@example.org) http://www.edemokratia.uta.fi/ Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Tampere
Politics and Political Participation in Changing World 1
Narrow & broad perspectives: politics is necessary and unavoidable
instrument of distributing good and bringing order in a pluralistic chaos
Idea of politics and political participation is in a transitory phase
Reflexive POLITICS - activity by the people instead of activity for the people: action-oriented politics
Politics and Political Participation in Changing World 2
CMC enables citizens to promote their own political visions, and challenge the official policy
Personal is political PiP1
Political is Personal PiP2
Nature of political activity and forms on participation effects on citizenship
computer-mediated communication: a political tool, channel, and forum
enables people to transcend the normal (spatio-temporal) limits and constraints of politics
New Public involvement 1
Two opposite discourses on political citizenship and participation are dominating the scene
Administrational citizenship – participation and lines of action channelled from above: various local, regional, national, EU and global participatory projects and initiatives .
New Public Management: Citizen as a subject
Participatory democracy theories: aspire to political deliberation, in which people are motivated to deliberate in a civil and reasonable manner.
Government is one actor in governance and implementing decisions
New Public involvement 2
A tool and a channel for many actors
Administrational mode: Activating citizens in order to avoid political apathy
Involving in decision-making and implementing
Focus on hearing people
Ideal type – an Active citizen
New Public involvement 3: The case of the City of Tampere
the website of the city of Tampere is referred to as a best practice for local citizen-oriented e-governance http:// www.tampere.fi/osallistuminen /
Information, e-services, citizen initiative opportunity, discussion forums etc.
The Preparation Forum (VALMA) of the City : participation is voluntary and its aim is to influence local politics
The Preparation Forum 2003-2005: 75 administratively launched discussion topics: 630 citizen floors took place and 239 unpublished individual opinions were e-mailed to preparing officials.
New public involvement 4: the case of the city of Tampere
The vast majority of the city dwellers do not take a part in e-facilitated discussions, nor have any idea what subjects are current topics in the city’s discussion forums.
The obvious obstacle to increasing participation in decision-making is the fact that too many citizens feel that the activation of the political dialogue is a fake attempt on the side of the political elite
The paradox in many net-democracy projects is that they do not actually empower the citizens: people do not believe that they might have an opportunity to make a difference in political governing because the agenda is already set. Citizens’ voice is heard, but it doesn’t necessarily have any influence. Decision-makers do not have to take that voice into account.
The motivation of participation: people feel empowered, if they are given real tools to influence. Strong participation means collaboration, and actual influential participation in decision-making. (Arnstein 1969).
Involvement from below 1
practices from below
citizens’ own public action
- DO IT YOURSELF;
- DO IT BECAUSE YOU FIND IT NECESSARY
- DO IT CONCRETELY
Involvement from below 2
political action springs up from its’ own dynamics – emerges in variety of settings
clashes of different subjective values
emphasis on fostering of new ideas
personal policymaking - bottom-up -approach
Engagement & Involvement & Commitment
Ideal type – an Activist citizen
Involvement from below 3: the Case of Tehotuotanto.net
topics arise from “private public spheres” in which people are pointing out social or political evils
contrast between the “big politics” from above and small “do-it-yourself” politics.
individual’s personal responsible taking
Involvement from below 4: the Case of Tehotuotanto.net
Justice for Animals association: “During the investigation we visited 101 Finnish factory farms and filmed with digital cameras .”
The action has been taken as “ independently and as individuals ”
videos and association aimed to reveal the “truth of Finnish animal production”.
After presented on TV the topic blossomed. Most Finnish TV-channels made reportages of the issue and interviewed both animal rights activists and farmers. Campaign moved to the Internet and was maintained by Justice for Animals association (and other animal welfare organisations included the campaign on their websites).
The whole point of their campaign was to make the “The Cruel Truth of Finnish Food Production” publically known.
The Campaign elicited also supporting groups on Web 2.0 platforms: Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, IRC-Galleria, Flickr
REFLEXIVE POLITICS: action emerges from issue specific questions/conflicts through individual political judgement based on intuitive and subjective views and values. Refers also to outcomes resulting in action.
activity by the people instead of activity for the people: action-oriented politics. DIY-Do it Yourself approach, de-medialization
Political environment fractures into diverse, complex and multi-spatial networks utilising various platforms
Reflexive politics through CMC
Utilising the complex structure of overlapping public spheres micro-, meso- and macro-public spheres (John Keane 2000): complex mosaic of differently sized, overlapping and interconnected public spheres
CMC enables digital micro -politics bringing the “snowball-effect” that can be transformed into meso -, or even macro -political publicness
Political micro-public spheres foster new ideas and modes of action
Micro-public spheres challenge hegemony bringing a situational, actionist power by practising public deliberation and by presenting alternative political views
Individualised civic watch
Style of reflexive politics
The individualised civic watch complements the traditional “watchdogs” of power, such as broadcast media and civil society organisations. The political motive for an individual is to enter into public discussions via horizontal communication in order to have an effect on people’s opinions.
Civic watch from below inverts Foucaldian panopticon / Orwellian Big Brother schemes
Personal broadcasting / narrowcasting emerge on Websites and Web 2.0. platforms
Tehotuotanto.net-campaign as an individualised civic watch. Digital broadcasting technology enabled reflexive animal rights politics in the form of civic watch.
The Justice for Animals association claimed they have only received the sent material and put it on their website. The campaign material ended up also to web 2.0 platforms.
Concluding remarks 1
Administrational and actionist models offer multi-spatial networks to partipate
Partipation/action may be horizontal or vertical or both at the same time
In administrational model agenda is set from above (vertical): effects have horizontal impact -> lay people involve themselves in formal policy-making
In actionist model initiatives come from below: effects are horizontal and may have vertical impacts on policy procedures, decision-making processes, agenda settings etc.
Concluding remarks 2
Reflexive politics may emerge in both models, though in administrational mode has not fully capitalise the empowering capacity
In actionist model empowering capacity may not realise due to marginalisation, despite of some success stories
Reflexive politics has potential to challenge the formal modes of partipation and involvement -> it is issue-specific, situation-bounded based on subjective political judgement
De-medialised net-environment has transformed participation and activity more networked and individual-based