Questions for e-participation practitioners

I sat in on part of the Demo_NET conference that we hosted here at the ITC. Some thoughts…

One breakout group came back with 5 key question for e-participation practitioners:

  1. Is there a link between e-participation and success?
  2. Does e-participation allow a move away from representative government?
  3. Can e-participation work at the European level?
  4. How should government learn from spontaneous and commericial examples of e-participation like and Big Brother?
  5. What should be the criteria for success in e-participation?

The point is, there is no easy answer to any of these – but I think that question 2 is the most disturbing. Maybe ‘democracy’ has had its day, in the same way as ‘monarchy’ pretty well had by the mid-19th century in the UK. We might keep the forms, but the mechanism for maintaining stable government will change.

A formal record of the proceding will be published in due course – I will add a link when it is.


About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
This entry was posted in e-democracy, e-participation, Europe, politics, thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Questions for e-participation practitioners

  1. Pingback: Demo-NET stakeholder meeting report now online « Spartakan

  2. Now that the notes are out, here’s the full text of the notes on the issues around e-participation vs representation

    Does eParticipation change the nature of democracy?
    What alternatives are there to representative democracy?
    Do we have other ways of governance? As many things in democracy require feedback, getting involved could be an alternative. But what would happen if any citizen participated?
    Does eParticipation become a facade or a lie and will we have to sustain and defend democracy?
    Is there a difference between local and national politics – e.g. in voting? For example in local politics in Sweden, people do not care about political representation, they want good management, so they vote for good managers rather than for politicians.
    What are politicians representing – national parties or constituents? Since parties represent all views it became difficult for citizens to find representatives. Another point is that there is a potential for less accountability as no one can be voted out.
    What is the kind of representation of politicians, as people often change theirs minds very quickly? Media seem to play a role in this phenomenon.
    Is government ready for participation? Governmental processes are usually closed and based rather on routines than on participation. This means that politicians are doing business as usual and don’t need citizens. Maybe they need customers or tax payers.

    Therefore the question: Does eParticipation create an opportunity to explore different nonrepresentative forms of governance?

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