Digital Processes and Democratic Theory

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open-access online book

Please cite this online publication as:

Hilbert, Martin (2007), “Digital Processes and Democratic Theory: Dynamics, risk and opportunities that arise when democratic institutions meet digital information and communication technologies”; peer-reviewd online publication; Google Books; http://www.martinhilbert.net/democracy.html  

 

Some of the ideas that originated in this book have been published in the peer-reviewed Journal article:

The Maturing Concept of e-democracy: From e-Voting and Online Consultations, to Democratic Value Out of Jumbled Online Chatter
September 2009, Journal of Information Technology & Politics (JITP), Volume 6, issue 2; American Political Science Association, p. 87-110, http://www.jitp.net.

Download an electronic version (pdf) of this article for FREE here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


"You however, students of this world, never forget that behind every technology is somebody who is using it and this some-body is a society... And that technology is a weapon, and whoever feels that the world is not as perfect as it should be, should fight, so that the weapon of technology is used to the benefit of society... every technology should be used to the benefit of the greatest number of people so that we can build the society of the future, no matter what name it may be given"
ERNESTO (Che) GUEVARA DE LA SERNA
29 August, 1963, Closing address to the International Meeting of Architect Students

 

 

 

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About this publication

This online publication is the result of research I have mainly done during the years 2003-2006. The ideas are based on my 303-page long German doctor thesis (published February 2007; “Digitalisierung demokratischer Prozesse. Gefahren und Chancen der Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie in der demokratischen Willensbildung der Informationsgesellschaft“; Beiträge zur Politischen Wissenschaft, Band 144, Duncker & Humbolt Berlin, Politikwissenschaften). I sporadically added to the text, but the ongoing evolution of the topic would require a non-stop real-time effort. The main literature remains from pre-2006.

I decided to publish the text online to facilitate access and its diffusion. The topic is as dynamic as it is relevant to a wide spectrum of scholars. I hope this online publication contributes to the deepening of our understanding of democratic processes in the digital age.

The fact that this text is openly accessible on the Internet does not mean it has not been peer-reviewd. I would like to thank Prof. Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider for the guidance throughout this research, and him and Prof. Wolfram Reiß from the University Friedrich-Alexander in Erlangen-Nurenberg for the peer-review and the extensive comments on previous versions of this text. I also thank Prof. Jorge Katz from the University of Chile for the inspiring comments and the final review of the entire English version.

 

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Detailed contents


SUMMARY    5

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION, DEFINITIONS AND MODELING 11


  Introduction    11
  The Democratic Principle    14
  On information and communication technologies    16
  On the transition phase towards the information society    20


  Three basic axes for the theoretical analysis of democracy    23

     WHO is involved in identifying the truth and determining the law?    23
     HOW flexible are democratic powers?    25
     WHAT kind of citizenship is pursued by the underlying social contract? 28


Chapter 2: EIGHT DEVELOPMENT SCENARIOS FOR DEMOCRACY IN THE INFORMATION SOCIETY 32


  Polis democracy in the information society    35
     Theoretical foundations of polis democracy    35
     Development of polis democracy in the information society    37
     Consequences of the development of polis democracy    40


  Cyber democracy in the information society    46

     Theoretical foundations of cyber democracy    46
     Development of cyber democracy in the information society    48
    
Consequences of the development of cyber democracy    50

  Plebiscitarian leadership democracy in the information society  52
     Theoretical foundations of plebiscitarian leadership democracy    52
     Development of plebiscitarian leadership democracy in the information society 54
    
Consequences of the development of plebiscitarian leadership democracy 56

  Big Brother democracy in the information society    58

     Theoretical foundations of Big Brother democracy    58
     Development of Big Brother democracy in the information society 60
    
Consequences of the development of Big Brother democracy    62

  Economic democracy in the information society    64

     Theoretical foundations of economic democracy    64
     Development of economic democracy in the information society 66
    
Consequences of the development economic democracy    68

  Pushbutton democracy in the information society    73

     Theoretical foundations of pushbutton democracy    73
     Development of pushbutton democracy in the information society 75
    
Consequences of the development of pushbutton democracy    78

  Roman republic in the information society    81

     Theoretical foundations of the Roman republic    81
     Development of the Roman republic in the information society 83
    
Consequences of the development of the Roman republic    86

  Deliberationware democracy in the information society  88
     Theoretical foundations of deliberationware democracy    88
     Development of deliberationware democracy in the information society    90
          Information structuring as fine adjustment between prose and yes/no    91
          Artificial intelligence for ensuring the value neutrality of the system    98
          Negotiation- and social-choice methods for intermediation of the common will 104
          An example of deliberationware-democratic intermediation 110
    
Consequences of the development of deliberationware democracy    114

Chapter 3: CONCLUSIONS AND OUTLOOK    116


Minority rights and privacy issues call for a strict rule of law
Digital will formation challenges the party system and interactive mass media
The digital divide hinders the creation of the digital public sphere
The borders btw direct and representative democracy are blurring
ICT applications do not automatically fit democratic ideals