RC 10 - Electronic Democracy

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31Dec 2010

Call for papers RC10 workshop on "Electronic Direct Democracy", Congress of the Slovenian Association of Political Science, Portoroz (Slovenia), 2-4 June 2011


RC10Logo2.jpg New innovative participatory instruments move to more strongly discursive-interactive designed procedures that correspond to models of deliberative politics and a communitarian democracy. In this evolution of the public spaces the new information and communication technologies can play an important role. Internet can give a new impetus in worldwide boom of direct democracy. What types of new electronic direct deliberative democracy instruments are developed? What are criteria for an evaluation of these instruments? In what fields are these new information technologies implemented? Do electronic town meetings, webforums, e-conferences, e-participatory budgeting etc. enhance deliberation? What are the problems and benefits of online political forums and what is their future development?
The workshop will be part of the Slovenian Association of Political Science conference.

Deadline for paper proposals and abstracts (200 words) is 31January 2011
(extended)

Please contact:
Norbert Kersting (kersting@sun.ac.za)
And the Local organizers:
Miro Haček (Miro.Hacek@fdv.uni-lj.si)
Lea Smerkolj (lea.smerkolj@fdv.uni-lj.si)

31Dec 2010

Call for papers Conference “Direct and deliberative democracy. An intercontinental perspective"

Call for papers: Conference: “Direct and deliberative democracy. An intercontinental perspective”
Wednesday, March 9. - Saturday, March 12. 2011
Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) Stellenbosch, South Africa

Is there a crisis of democracy? Globally “electoral representative democracies” are highly criticized. Voter apathy and cynicism is growing. But also “unconventional” participation is facing a crisis. New social movements often seem to become violent meaningless protest. Are there any alternatives to the “brick or ballot“?

In this conference on the one hand new forms of "dialogical deliberative instruments" such as participatory budgeting, mini publics, future search conferences, ward committees etc. are discussed on the other hand “direct democratic instruments” such as referendums and initiatives will be analysed. Both democratic channels are seen as an innovation and addition for mainstream traditional democracies. Nowadays democratic innovation seems to be generated mostly in the global South. Brazil and other countries “export” participatory instruments into the old democracies in Europe and Northern America. New “dialogical participatory instruments” such as participatory budgeting were implemented firstly in developing countries in Porto Alegre, Brazil and spread worldwide. Democratic as well as non-democratic countries such as China implement deliberative dialogical instruments. In the last decades referendums and initiatives became en vogue in some Latin American countries. In Africa plebiscites are frequently used in nation building as well as in constitutional processes. In some European countries referendums seem to boom at the local level, where more municipalities implement referendums and initiatives.

There is no in-depth comparative evaluation focusing on these developments. Evaluation criteria encompass criteria such as openness, political control and responsiveness, rationality and transparency as well as effectiveness and efficiency. What are the functions of these political engagements? Are they implemented in planning, conflict resolution? What are intended as well as unintended results? What kind of actors is involved? What are the contexts and experiences as well as the pros and cons in the different continents? The core presentations should give a continental overview. Furthermore these presentations should analyse three to four countries in detail.

Finally the idea is to bridge these two fields of direct and deliberative democracy research. Can dialogical democratic instruments and instruments of direct democracy (Initiatives and Referendums) be combined? Is it useful to combine dialogical and direct democracy? If yes, can this be institutionalized? Are the new instruments one way to reinvigorate democracies or to democratize “non democracies” from below? Or is this “invited space” of direct and deliberative democracy more a rubber stamp factory? Can marginalized groups become meaningfully involved in political decision making?

Deadline for paper proposals and abstracts (200 words) is 15 January 2011. : Prof. Norbert Kersting (Stellenbosch University) (kersting@sun.ac.za)

Papers can focus on theory of deliberative and direct democracy and on a nexus between these two. Papers on effects of deliberative and direct democracy on social movements, civic education and empowerment as well as relevant country studies (India, Brazil etc.) are highly welcome.

The conference is co-organized by Prof Norbert Kersting, Willy Brandt Chair on Transformation and Regional Integration (DAAD)- Stellenbosch University and International Political Science Association (IPSA) Research Committee 5 "Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics”

18Aug 2010

Deliberating Environmental Policy Issues by Julien Talpin and Stéphanie Wojcik

Talpin, Julien and Wojcik, Stéphanie (2010) "Deliberating Environmental Policy Issues: Comparing the Learning Potential of Online and Face-To-Face Discussions on Climate Change," Policy & Internet: Vol. 2 : Iss. 2, Article 4.
DOI: 10.2202/1944-2866.1026
http://www.psocommons.org/policyandinternet/vol2/iss2/art4

To what extent is political participation deepened and enriched by the Internet? Is the Internet more inclusive - especially towards the young - than traditional forms of participation requiring physical contact? Do people learn more by discussing on the Internet - and especially in online political forums - than by deliberating face-to-face? We aim to answer these questions by presenting the results of research based on the observation of a deliberative experience that allowed both online and face-to-face participation, namely the IDEAL-EU project, carried out by the Tuscany (Italy), Catalonia (Spain), and Poitou-Charentes (France) regions. IDEAL-EU was aimed at involving young people - between ages 14 and 30 - to discuss the issue of climate change in order to produce a report to be handed to the President of the European Parliament Commission on Climate Change. It first consisted in online discussion forums, and then in an electronic town meeting organized in the three regions' capitals in November 2008. This town meeting involved both keypad voting and face-to-face discussions in small groups.
The comparison of these two stages of the experience allows evaluation of the respective effects of online and face-to-face political discussions on young participants’ political knowledge. Using content analysis of websites, direct observation of the assembly, and interviews and questionnaires completed by both online and assembly participants, we evaluate the respective effects of these different forms of civic engagement for actors' perceived level of knowledge on climate change and on their political competence more generally.

13Aug 2010

Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy by R. Michael Alvarez and Thad E. Hall

Alvarez_Hall.gif Princeton University Press, February 2010, 256 p.
ISBN: 978-1-4008-3408-2
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8641.html

Since the 2000 presidential election, the United States has been embroiled in debates about electronic voting. Critics say the new technologies invite tampering and fraud. Advocates say they enhance the accuracy of vote counts and make casting ballots easier and ultimately foster greater political participation. Electronic Elections cuts through the media spin to assess the advantages and risks associated with different ways of casting ballots and shows how e-voting can be the future of American democracy.

Elections by nature are fraught with risk. Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall fully examine the range of past methods and the new technologies that have been created to try to minimize risk and accurately reflect the will of voters. Drawing upon a wealth of new data on how different kinds of electronic voting machines have performed in recent elections nationwide, they evaluate the security issues that have been the subject of so much media attention, and examine the impacts the new computer-based solutions is having on voter participation. Alvarez and Hall explain why the benefits of e-voting can outweigh the challenges, and they argue that media coverage of the new technologies has emphasized their problems while virtually ignoring their enormous potential for empowering more citizens to vote. The authors also offer ways to improve voting technologies and to develop more effective means of implementing and evaluating these systems.

Electronic Elections makes a case for how e-voting can work in the United States, showing why making it work right is essential to the future vibrancy of the democratic process.

R. Michael Alvarez is professor of political science at the California Institute of Technology. Thad E. Hall is associate professor of political science and research fellow at the Institute of Public and International Affairs at the University of Utah. They are the authors of Point, Click, and Vote.

Table of Contents
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS vii
PREFACE ix
CHAPTER 1: What This Book Is About 1
CHAPTER 2: Paper Problems, Electronic Promises 12
CHAPTER 3: Criticisms of Electronic Voting 30
CHAPTER 4: The Frame Game 50
CHAPTER 5: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back 71
CHAPTER 6: The Performance of the Machines 100
CHAPTER 7: Public Acceptance of Electronic Voting 133
CHAPTER 8: A New Paradigm for Assessing Voting Technologies 156
CHAPTER 9: Conclusion 178
NOTES 191
BIBLIOGRAPHY 207
INDEX 217

12Aug 2010

IPSA-ECPR Joint Conference, Sao Paulo (Brazil), 16-19 February 2011

Deadline extended : 20 August 2010

At the next IPSA-ECPR Joint Conference, "Whatever Happened to North-South?" which will take place in Sao Paulo (Brazil) on 16-19 February 2011, two panels could be of interest for RC10 members or researchers interested in electronic democracy :

06Aug 2010

Promises and Limits of Web-deliberation by Raphaël Kies

Palgrave Macmillan, March 2010, 200 p.
ISBN : 978-0-230-61921-0, ISBN10 : 0-230-61921-5
http://us.macmillan.com/promisesandlimitsofwebdeliberation

Does the increasing usage of online political forums lead to a more deliberative democracy ? This book answers to this question by presenting the evolution of the public spaces in a historical perspective, by defining and operationalizing the deliberative criteria of democracy, and by measuring and evaluating the impact ofvirtualization of the political debates under threes perspectives. It looks at the extent to which different categories of the population debate online, it looks at the categories of actors hosting online political forum, and it assesses the quality of the online political debates in different contexts. The final aim of this work is to provide a more balanced evaluation of the impact of virtualization of the political debates and to enrich the evolving deliberative theory with new findings.

Table of contents
Deliberative democracy : origins, meaning and major controversies * Deliberative democracy and its operationalization * Extension of the online political debates * Existing findings on deliberativeness of web-debates * Analysis of “radicali italiani” * Online campaign in Issy-les-Moulineaux

Biography of the author
Raphaël Kies is Researcher in Political Science at the University of Luxembourg. He is Co-founder of the E-democracy Center (Switzerland), he is member of the Réseau de Démocratie ELectronique (France) and of the ECPR standing group on Internet&Politics. In Luxembourg he is co-responsible for the national and European electoral studies, and for the introduction of innovative methods of political participation such as the voting advice application smartvote.lu and the European Citizens Consultation. He has published several articles and reports on e-democracy, local democracy, and deliberative democracy.

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