is E-Democracy a Myth? Civic Participation and Democratic Reform

Julie FREEMAN, Sharna Quirke

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    Information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer opportunities for greater civic participation in democratic reform. Government ICT use has, however, predominantly been associated with e-government applications that focus on one-way information provision and service delivery. This paper distinguishes between e-government and processes of e-democracy, which facilitate active civic engagement through two-way, ongoing dialogue. It draws from participation initiatives undertaken in two case studies. The first highlights efforts to increase youth engagement in the local government area of Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom. The second is Iceland’s constitutional crowdsourcing, an initiative intended to increase civic input into constitutional reform. These examples illustrate that, in order to maintain legitimacy in the networked environment, a change in the culture of governments to facilitate open and responsive e-democracy practices is required. Moreover, when coupled with traditional participation methods, processes of e-democracy enable wide civic involvement and emphasise that e-democracy should not be separated from the everyday operations of government. While online democratic engagement is a slowly evolving process, initial steps are being undertaken by governments that enable e-participation to shape democratic reform.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCeDEM13: Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government
    EditorsP Parycek, N Edelmann
    Place of PublicationAustria
    PublisherEdition Donau-Universitat Krems
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Print)9783902505309
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventInternational C onference for E-Democracy and Open Government - Krems, Austria
    Duration: 22 May 201324 May 2013


    ConferenceInternational C onference for E-Democracy and Open Government


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