Williamson Keynote

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Williamson Keynote

  1. Disruption and empowerment: Embedding citizens at the heart of democracy Dr Andy Williamson Director of Digital Democracy Hansard Society, London
  2. <ul><li>Societies have shifted from a culture of community towards a culture of individualism. </li></ul><ul><li>We are no longer just citizens but also consumers. </li></ul>
  3. Source: IPSOS Mori (UK Data, Nov 2008)
  4. 5% want active engagement... That’s about 2.5 Million people in the UK Source: IPSOS Mori (UK Data, Nov 2008)
  5. 12 Million want more of a say! Source: IPSOS Mori (UK Data, Nov 2008)
  6.  
  7. <ul><li>Privileging individuals over the collective reduces opportunities for citizens to be engaged, debate and modify their beliefs. </li></ul>
  8. <ul><ul><li>How can we reassert an independent public sphere when it remains colonised by powerful corporate interests, media outlets and technocratic agencies? </li></ul></ul>
  9. <ul><li>A strong civil society is a sign of a healthy democracy. </li></ul>
  10. <ul><li>But some NGOs have bought into the technocratic arguments of government, becoming the ‘experts’, ‘representing’ the views of a wider public, regardless of the extent to which they have been consulted. </li></ul>
  11. With the internet, we have an opportunity to bring citizens back to the centre of our democracies.
  12. “ Real change comes when the people are inspired and mobilised, when millions of us are fired up to play a part in the nation’s future.” “ So my invitation today is this: join us, to form a new kind of government for Britain” “ The role of government: to stand by ordinary people so they can change their lives for the better. It is our belief that it is active, reforming government, not absent government, that helps make people powerful.”
  13. But...
  14. <ul><li>Mental access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A lack of interest, motivation or anxiety. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Material access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The inability to obtain access to technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Skills access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of ‘digital’ skills. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usage access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of significant usage opportunities. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civil access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of understanding of how ICT can be synthesised into community development activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Democratic access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unable to harness ICT for political participation or to influence.  </li></ul></ul>
  15. <ul><li>The internet does not of itself change an individual’s motivation to become engaged but it can reduce the barriers to engagement and lower the motivational threshold at which engagement occurs. </li></ul>
  16. <ul><li>The internet facilitates single-issue politics. </li></ul><ul><li>But there is a gap between new techniques and traditional democratic institutions . </li></ul><ul><li>We also have to be aware of the risk of astroturfing and lack of scrutiny. </li></ul>
  17. We need strategies to support grounded leadership inclusive of civil society and government. This can facilitate the transformative potential of digital media, privileging the necessary advocacy, awareness-building and disruptive practices that are required to initiate and sustain democratic transformation.
  18.  
  19. Digital media allows individuals to create effective issues-based campaigns that can quickly and spontaneously spread through viral networks. The largest of these can reach a tipping point where they can impact , influence and even change government policy .
  20. Partnerships are fundamental to the effectiveness of eDemocracy. Yet they also show that many challenges exist to establishing effective community-government models for effective engagement.
  21. Challenges can only be overcome by increasing civic awareness and an attitudinal change towards digital media that positions it as an integral part of the democratic process, giving equal recognition to the folksonomies of civil society as is currently given to the taxonomies of experts.
  22. E Patai atu ahau ki a koe He aha te mea nui o te Ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata! Let me ask you What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.

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