Edited by Roza Tsagarousianou, Damian Tambini and Cathy Bryan. "Cyberdemocracy: Technology, Cities and Civic Networks." Routledge, New York, NY., 1998

Keywords: electronic democracy


Chapter 9; Electronic democracy and the public sphere: opportunities and challenges by Roza Tsagarousianou.

Since the 1960s the idea of electronic democracy has intrigued scholars, politicians and activists. It is argued that information technologies could resuscitate declining civic participation. Experiments in electronic democracy share a few similarities but the diversity reveled in the approaches used to experiment with electronic democracy clearly depict the differing ideas about democracy. For instance the methods of top-down vs. bottoms-up vs. individual initiatives. Individual projects also reveled different ideas about the definition, meaning and scope of electronic democracy. Projects ran from deliberative, to plebiscitary from grassroots to public information provisions. In practice though, the author points out that, different projects combine different modes of citizen participation and service provisions. The concluding statements of this chapter are that the Internet by itself will not democratize communities; it is just not so simple and requires more commitment and grassroots involvement.