eDemocracy 1/3 – The role of the digital citizen in the 21st century democracy

Goal: The first workshop aims to provide an introduction into the topic of digital citizenship, online participation, and government scrutiny. Participants are supposed to provide and to get an overview of the state of play and the theoretic background of the topic(s).

The information and communication technologies have touched upon practically every sphere of public life. On a daily basis, people are a part of complex, inclusive communication and decision-making processes related to both their personal and professional lives. The process of public governance and democracy-making, however, has been barely touched by this trend and is still referred to by politicians as an every four years recurring process. At the same time, democracies all across Europe face difficult times and citizen’s rejection due to self-centricity of governance.

Digital tools do have the potential to bring a positive change by enabling greater public participation and engagement. Harnessing the power of the informal tools for public digital participation and channelling it for greater engagement and mobilisation for the achievement of political results (responsive, inclusive, transparent, and accountable governance) might be the key imperative for the well-working and enjoyed 21st century democracy.

Questions raised:
How do ICT’s alter people’s self-perception of their societal role? To what extent can digital tools and eParticipation overcome the democratic deficit across Europe? How can we harness the potential of ICTs to achieve a more responsive, inclusive, transparent, and accountable governance and policy-making? Could informal tools for digital participation be seen as an alternative, rather than a supplement to the existing formal state-led eDemocracy tools?

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