Visions and scenarios of the impact of the interaction between information and communication technology (ICT) and democratic participation differ widely.
At one extreme, it potentially represents the dawning of a new age: opportunities for citizens to participate effectively online in local through to global public spheres; for grassroots movements to challenge dominant interests; and for technological innovation expressing norms of transparency, inclusion and accountability.
At the other extreme, technology and democratic participation
are potentially antithetical, reinforcing the power of established interests
through increased surveillance and the further marginalization and
fragmentation of politics in favour of highly personalized forms of
entertainment. Arguably somewhere between these two extremes lies the
current and future trajectory of technology and democratic participation.
This highly interactive workshop aims to provoke a discussion between policy
makers, practitioners and academics about the ongoing relationship between
technology and democratic participation. Is the relationship mutually reinforcing
or antithetical? How is new technology shaping democratic participation and/or
how is democratic participation shaping technology? What examples can we bring
to bear? Where is our current knowledge limited? What do we need to know to
make better judgements?
We are delighted that our discussions will be kicked off with a presentation by
Tiago Peixote, an open government specialist at the ICT4Gov program of the
World Bank’s Open Government cluster. Tiago has worked as a practitioner and
researcher on ICT and participatory governance for over 10 years and is known
to many through his online activity promoting participatory democracy – check
out @participatory and https://www.facebook.com/groups/participatory.
There will be plenty of opportunities for discussion, questions and networking,
along with interventions by two key players in UK debates and practice, with
very different experiences and insights:
We hope you can join us on the evening of Tuesday 8 July to take the debate on democratic participation and technology forward.
University of Westminster
309 Regents Street
17.30 – 20.00