Title: Online participation: from 'invited' to 'invented' spaces

Authors: Norbert Kersting

Addresses: University of Muenster, Institute for Political Science, Scharnhorststr. 100, 48151 Muenster, Germany

Abstract: As a result of growing protests and demonstrative participation, new forms of participation are being implemented by government (invited space) and by the civil society (invented space). These democratic innovations mix conventional representative forms of participation with new direct as well as deliberative participatory instruments (hybrid democracy). Democratic innovation is also characterised by new digital, online instruments. Additionally it comes to a mix between offline instruments and new online instruments (blended democracy). Online participation often lacks quality in its discourse. Research shows that it is frequently not an open reciprocal deliberation. It is more often 'third space discussion' and 'enclave dialogue'. Here the argument is that some online participatory instruments, which were originally developed for deliberation and dialogue, seem to refocus towards the function of demonstrative participation (internet metamorphosis). They are more oriented towards the constructions of identity and community building than towards political dialogue and deliberation.

Keywords: online participation; political deliberation; quality of democracy; identity; community building; political dialogue; protest; social media; e-democracy; electronic democracy; political communication.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2013.060650

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2013 Vol.6 No.4, pp.270 - 280

Published online: 23 Apr 2014 *

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