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OP@LL Conference. Online participation on the local level – a comparative perspective. 13-15 December 2017. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy
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  1. 1. 1 From e-Participation to the Devolution of Sovereignty OP@LL Conference. Online participation on the local level – a comparative perspective. 14 December 2017 Ismael Peña-López @ictlogist #opall
  2. 2. 2 The elevator pitch • Political participation in Spain discouraged by norms. • The Spanish 15M Indignados Movement rallied the streets (15 May 2014) at the cry of “They do not represent us”. • Members of this movement created parties (e.g. Podemos) and won some important cities in 2015: e.g. Madrid and Barcelona. • New local governments put in practice their techonopolitical ethos and practices when in office. • (Barcelona we decide) is analysed using Giddens structuration theory. • Strong evidence of shifts in meaning, norms and power. • Important changes in participation practices. • If carefully curated, devolution of sovereignty and diminishing of intermediation can lead to rich networked participation ecosystem.
  3. 3. 3 The socio-political context • Spanish Constitution of 1978: DO NOT ENGAGE. • Corruption + inefficacy = disaffection • The 15M Indignados Movement • The local elections of 2015
  4. 4. 4 & the strategic plan (PAM) 2016-2019 • The strategic plans of 2012-2015 and 2016-2019 • From Decide Madrid to • Beyond the project: as a system • Traceable. • Collective. • Multiplatform. • Binding. • metadecidim.
  5. 5. 5 Methodology domination legitimation power sanction facility norm structure interaction (modality) Dimensions of the duality of structure. Source: Giddens, A. (1984). The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press. (p.29) signification communication interpretative scheme Data sources ● documentation on ● direct observation ● participant observation ● semi-structured interviews Full report: Peña-López, I. (2017)., Spain. Voice or chatter? Case studies. Bengaluru: IT for Change. Download: Anthony Giddens structuration theory
  6. 6. 6 Some results of • Less proposals. • Proposal supports, comments, comment supports. • Better proposals. • No online vs. F2F events or CSOs competition: complementation. • Inclusion of minorities and traditionally excluded actors. • Increased transparency and accountability. • NO bridging the knowledge/income gap. • Informal networks of interest. • New (digital) leaders.
  7. 7. 7 Shifts in meaning • Legitimization of (1) participation (2) at any level/commitment. • Participation means not direct democracy (substitution), but dialogue (complementation). • “Horizontalization” of government-citizen in decision-making. • Sovereignty over (1) agenda setting (2) institutions (3) the system. • ICTs not as substitutes, but as enablers and boosters and to increase efficacy and efficiency.
  8. 8. 8 Shifts in norms • Participation is binding and has an impact. • Transparency as a PRE-requisite for policy-making. • Against disenchantment and disaffection: no “listening” but “engaging”. • Institutions as neutral enablers, as rich nodes, as hubs. • All contributions matter: the power of granularity in participation. • Dire change of culture within the Administration. • (Digital) infrastructures are public, including its governance.
  9. 9. 9 Shifts in power • Small in size, significant in qualitative terms. • Agenda setting is now public/open/participated. • Real devolution of sovereignty: o From institutions to citizens. o From civil organizations to individual citizens. o From media to participants. • Decrease of the layers of intermediation (openness of the rest). • Total disclosure of the full process and outputs. • A network of open participatory cities?
  10. 10. 10 Conclusions Changes in participation practices: • Deliberation becomes the new democracy standard. • Openness as the pre-requisite for deliberation. • Accountability and legislative footprint to achieve legitimacy. • Participation for more pluralism and stronger social capital, thus fostering deliberation: towards deliberative democracy. Outcomes: • Diminishing role of intermediation and traditional institutions. • Increasing role of informed deliberation. • Balance between institutions, experts/leaders and individual citizens in a new ecosystem of actors, roles and relationships: networks and communities with liquid and reconfiguring affiliation.
  11. 11. 11 @ictlogist All the information in this document under a Creative Commons license: Attribution – Non Commercial More information please visit To cite this document, we suggest: Peña-López, I. (2017)., from e-Participation to the Devolution of Sovereignty. OP@LL Conference. Online participation on the local level – a comparative perspective. 13-15 December 2017. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy Thank you! This communication based on: Peña-López, I. (2017)., Spain. Voice or chatter? Case studies. Bengaluru: IT for Change. This research has been produced with the financial support of Making All Voices Count (). Making All Voices Count is a programme working towards a world in which open, effective and participatory governance is the norm and not the exception. This Grand Challenge focuses global attention on creative and cutting-edge solutions to transform the relationship between citizens and their governments. Making All Voices Count is supported by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and Omidyar Network (ON), and is implemented by a consortium consisting of Hivos, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Ushahidi. The programme is inspired by and supports the goals of the Open Government Partnership.