Electronic Democracy as a Multi-Dimensional Praxis

June 16, 2012

E-democracy is proclaimed as the next thing. It is taken as one of the most efficient avenues through which modern democracies can enhance their participatory profile. This assertion is driven by a broadening dissatisfaction with the state of “modern democracy.” Our democratic institutions are unable, so the critics argue, to produce the kind of legitimacy necessary for the institution of governance. They do not do a good enough job, both in terms of producing broad consent and in terms of adequately controlling those in power. This critique portrays the problem of “legitimacy” as a problem of institution-design: creating institutional structures that will allow the public to take part in a meaningful way in the game of governance, whether this game is played at the national or global level.
This article explores whether the Internet, as a new kind of communicative arena, can contribute to the development of more inclusive decision-making structures.