Citizens and intelligent machines : algorithms in deliberative democracy

  • Nardine Alnemr

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    To what extent can algorithms promote or hinder the practice of deliberative democracy? Extant accounts of algorithms in deliberative democracy are cautious of their consequences on the democratic quality of the public sphere but see a potential in algorithms to design the right conditions for citizen deliberation. Between these two accounts, I argue in this thesis that algorithms in deliberative democracy should be examined in the context of the “algorithmic society”—a society shaped by, relying on, and critical of algorithms, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI). A broader understanding of this condition can highlight the roles of algorithms relevant to deliberative democracy, not only in communication but also in decision making. In four accounts of algorithms in deliberative democracy, I apply normative theory to scrutinise the roles of algorithms across three sites of deliberation: the public sphere, minipublics, and institutions. Overall, this thesis presents a contribution to the literature by highlighting how a deliberative democratic account of algorithms ought to be critical, multifaceted, and citizen-centric.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSimon Niemeyer (Supervisor), Nicole Curato (Supervisor) & John Dryzek (Supervisor)

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