EDem10: e-Democracy and Open Government

Notes from the EDem10 — 4th International Conference on eDemocracy 2010, at the Danube-University Krems, and held in Krems, Austria, on May 6th and 7th, 2010. More notes on this event: edem10.

Communications: e-Democracy and Open Government

g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms’ Length from Government
Axel Bruns and Adam Swift

If you can’t see the presentation please visit http://ictlogy.net/?p=3344

Why some top-down (G2G) approaches have failed?

Government operated projects have limited impact on government decision-making, often result in general criticism, have problems with effective management by public service.

  • May be mere service delivery
  • Simply perceived as insubstantial spin
  • Citizen participation is a fig leaf for goverment
  • Process of impacting on gov desicions unclear

Why some bottom-up (C2C) approaches have failed?

Some of them are not representative, have good functionality but have limited take-up by target community.

  • May generate open an engaged debate
  • Often only by usual suspects
  • Perceptino of inherent bias, unrepresentative community
  • Unable to match the clout of eswtablishede lobby groups
  • Too distant from politicdal actors to be recognised
Towards G4C2C

Desirable qualities for citizen consultation:

  • Government support and recognition
  • Independent and flexible operation and management
  • Distant enough to allow real community development
  • Close enough for outcomes to be accepted as meaningful

Government support for citizen-to-citizen initiatives: the government is involved, but not directly promoting, but supporting:

  • Hybrid model combining g2c and c2c aspects
  • Government-supported, but at arms’ length from government
  • Public service broadcasting approach
  • Participation by citizens as well as politicians and officials
  • cf. “Civic Commons 2.0” (Coleman & Blumler, 2009): a space of intersecting networks, pulled together through the agency of a democratically connecting institution, raises questions about the scale of such a project.

The Expressive Turn of Political Participation and Citizenship in the Digital Age
Jakob Svensson, Karlstad University

If you can’t see the presentation please visit http://ictlogy.net/?p=3344

Is a democracy sustainable without participation? What do we mean by the “political”?

  • Concerns of the organization and structure of society
  • The relationships of power, distribution and equity
  • Discursive and relational

Characteristics of the late modernity:

  • dispersion of cultural frameworks
  • Individualization
  • The network and the digital
  • Sub-politics and life-politics

Instrumental rationality: why participate if I’m getting anything in exchange? why engage citizens if costs are higher than benefits? And if participation is good/better for anyone, then why people do not participate?

Expressive rationality

“Expressive preferences” (Brennan) are not the same thing as “market preferences”: self-realization, processes of identification, networked individualism, etc.

Participation as an act of identity expression, participation provides participants with meaning.

Do Facebook and Video Games promote political Participation among Youth? Evidence from Singapore
Marko M. Skoric and Grace Kwan, Nanyang Technological University

Is there any relationship between using these emerging platforms for online sociability and entertainment, and political participation among young Singaporeans. See if these platforms are “third places” (Oldenburg) where they hang out and eventually participate.

Literature (like Pew Internet Projecte, 2008) shows that there is huge civic potential in Facebook, MMORPGs, etc.

While traditional media are quite controlled in Singapore, the Internet is not, so freedom of speech is almost guaranteed. There are also weak civic traditions.

There are some examples where social media have been used to impact the traditional media, by starting protests online, taking them offline (organizing online an offline protest) and then hitting and appearing in mainstream media, once (or during) the offline event has taken place.

Do intensive usage of Facebook and intensive gaming has an impact in (a) traditional participation or (b) online participation? Is there a relationship between online and offline participation?

Findings

  • Being a Facebook is slightly correlated with participation in politics
  • Intensity of usage is correlated with in both online and traditional participation
  • Gaming alone is not related with participation
  • But civic game-playing is correlated with participation
  • And online and offline participation are also correlated
  • Facebook use and video gaming linked with both online and offline participation
  • Online participation as a driver of traditional participation
  • (increased) Importance of attention to political/public affairs news in traditional media, even for online participation

See also

Other reactions on this session

EDEm10 - 4th International Conference on eDemocracy (2010)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “EDem10: e-Democracy and Open Government” In ICTlogy, #80, May 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=3344

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