Anja Adler – Liquid Democracy-Norm, Code and Developers of Democracy beyond Representation


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#CeDEM13 Day3, PhD Colloquium, SE 3.5, Chair: Peter Parycek, Christina Hainzl

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Anja Adler – Liquid Democracy-Norm, Code and Developers of Democracy beyond Representation

  1. 1. Liquid Democracy –Norm, Code and Developers of Democracybeyond Representation    Anja AdlerNRW School of Governance, University Duisburg-EssenMay 23, 2013Supervisors:Prof. Dr. Karl-Rudolf KorteProf. Dr. Christoph Bieber  
  2. 2. 1.  Intro: Context2.  Conceptual Framework3.  Research Questions4.  Theory & State of Research5.  Methodology6.  Questions and Discussion
  3. 3. Decision-making within Pirate Party
  4. 4. Consultation for Committee of Inquiry by German Bundestag
  5. 5. Consultation for Party Program for SPD
  6. 6. Only two central actorsInteractive Democracy e.V.(Liquid Feedback)Liquid Democracy e.V.(Adhocracy)
  7. 7.
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  9. 9. Conceptual Framework•  wave of publication on Pirates, but LD is most of thetimes just mentioned•  only a handful of in-depth discussion from an academicperspectives, some also in blogposts•  definition so far as mixture between representative anddirect democracy with main element of delegation•  authors have differing understandings of LD•  as starting point project seeks to develop a conceptualframework
  10. 10. Conceptual Framework: Democracy Theorydelegationdiscourse(based on Wilker 2012)(based on Bieber 2012)
  11. 11. Conceptual Framework: Level of Abstraction  
  12. 12. Conceptual Framework as Double Continuum  
  13. 13. Research Questions1.  How is Liquid Democracy conceptionalized in its normand realized in code by the two German organizations,Liquid Democracy e.V. and Interactive Democracy e.V.?2.  What kind of political actors are the developers of liquiddemocracy? What motivates political scientists,programmers and other supporters in both organizations towork on this topic? How does the process of collaborationbetween political scientist and programmers work?3.  In what way do these processes influence political actors/thepolitical system? Which institutions and/or actors are themain targets of this innovation? What are effects of theseprogramming activities?
  14. 14. Theory & State of Research•  Liquid Democracy as new form of political consulting (acombination of expert-civic consulting addressed to politicsfollowing Nullmeier/Dietz (2011))•  Developers as “architects of new [public] communicationspaces” (Schmidt 2012) and platform design come into focus•  Technology is not neutral (e.g. Lessig 1999, Noveck 2009,Rushkoff 2003) but shaped by values and norms of itsdevelopers•  Code understood as a specific set of algorithms readably for acomputer (Mackenzie 2006, Rushkoff 2003, 2010, Rosenberg2008, Kitchin/Dodge 2011, Ullman 2013)•  Norm as framework of rules for a group, theoretical weak spot
  15. 15. Methodological Approach:Exploratory: Grounded Theory Approach?1.  Conceptionalized in norm/realization in code:descriptive: analysis of online self-portrayals (website,wikis, articles) & semi-structured expert interviews withheads of associations, documentation of the software2.  Role of developers/process of collaboration:hypothesis-generating: semi-structured interviews withdevelopers on their role and motivation, participation atprogramming sprint3.  Effects of these programming activities: not reallyfocus of this research project, but aim is to formulatehypotheses at the end about role and influence of liquiddemocracy developers (programmers and thinkers) inshaping the software and participation processes
  16. 16. SourcesBieber, C. (2012, Dezember 5). Digital Diskutieren und Online Entscheiden - Liquid Democracy alsneues Politikmodell? Kleine Form der Universität Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg. [April 15, 2013]Kitchin, R., & Dodge, M. (2011). Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life (Software Studies.Cambridge: MIT Press.Lessig, L. (1999). Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. Basic Books.Mackenzie, A. (2006). Cutting Code: Software and Sociality (1. Aufl.). Peter Lang Publishing Inc.Noveck, B. S. (2009). Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, DemocracyStronger, and Citizens More Powerful. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.Nullmeier, F., & Dietz, M. (2011). Gesellschaftsberatung und Deliberative Verfahren. Zeitschrift fürPolitikwissenschaft, (3), 307–329.Rosenberg, S. (2008). Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, andOne Quest for Transcendent Software (Reprint.). Three Rivers Press.Rushkoff, D. (2003a). Open Source Democracy: How Online Communication is Changing OfflinePolitics. Demos.Rushkoff, D. (2010). Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. Berkeley: SoftSkull Books.Schmidt, J.-H. (2012). Das demokratische Netz? Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, (7), 3–8.Ullman, E. (2013). Close to the Machine. Pushkin Press.Wilker, Nadja (2012): Liquid Democracy ? Eine demokratietheoretische Analyse. UnveröffentlichteMasterarbeit am Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, HHU Düsseldorf.  
  17. 17.  Thank you for your attention.Questions?