EDem interview: 5 Words to eDemocracy

Judith Schoßböck and Johann Höchtl interviewed me — thank you very much! — during the eDem10 Conference on the following questions:

  • 5 Words to eDemocracy?
  • The future of eDemocracy in a nutshell?
  • Your favourite eDemocracy project?
  • Prospects and risks of eDemocracy?
  • What will be the content of the EDem Conference 2020?

Find below the video and, after, short answers to the previous questions:

If you cannot see the video please visit http://ictlogy.net/?p=3361

5 Words to eDemocracy?

eDemocracy is not about making democracy “electronic” (i.e. to use digital devices to perform our usual democratic participation), but how Information and Communication Technologies have transformed democratic institutions — mainly parties and governments — and what will be the role of such institutions and the role of the citizens because of the introduction of these ICTs, digital content, and the Information Society as a whole.

The future of eDemocracy in a nutshell?

The future of eDemocracy is about how to mainstream Democracy in people’s lives. It is usually said that (a) people are not interested in politics and/or that (b) people have other problems more important than democratic participation.

I think that we should be able to “embed” democratic participation in people’s daily lives so that participating (being informed, deliberation, voting, etc.) could be part of your daily “routines”, mainstreamed in your daily activity.

A simplistic though illustrative example of this mainstreaming — helped by ICTs and out of the democratic arena — is what Amazon does with your online behaviour and recommendations: you do not need to take any especial activity besides buying to build your profile upon which Amazon recommends books for you. Is that possible in political preferences?

Your favourite eDemocracy project?

One eDemocracy project that I know of and that I really like is Parlament 2.0, the Parliament 2.0 initiative by the Catalan Parliament led by its president Ernest Benach himself, a project that opens up the whole activity of the Parliament and really enables and fosters citizen participation.

President Ernest Benach wrote a book about this project and other “politics 2.0” reflections: #Política 2.0.

Prospects and risks of eDemocracy?

The main risks are, of course, the digital divide in all its senses (physical access, digital competences, etc.).

Besides the digital divide, we have to rethink political institutions… without necessarily destroying or ignoring or circumventing them.

What will be the content of the EDem Conference 2020?

  • Did we succeed in transforming political institutions and how?
  • Did we manage in how to mainstream democratic participation in everyone’s daily life?

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

Peña-López, I. (2010) “EDem interview: 5 Words to eDemocracy” In ICTlogy, #80, May 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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