25th IVR World Congress: Law, Science and Technology
25th IVR World Congress Law and technology Frankfurt am Main 15–20 August 2011 Paper Series
- Democracy (1) (remove)
- Updating democracy studies: outline of a research program (2012)
- Technologies carry politics since they embed values. It is therefore surprising that mainstream political and legal theory have taken the issue so lightly. Compared to what has been going on over the past few decades in the other branches of practical thought, namely ethics, economics and the law, political theory lags behind. Yet the current emphasis on Internet politics that polarizes the apologists holding the web to overcome the one-to-many architecture of opinion-building in traditional representative democracy, and the critics that warn cyber-optimism entails authoritarian technocracy has acted as a wake up call. This paper sets the problem – “What is it about ICTs, as opposed to previous technical devices, that impact on politics and determine uncertainty about democratic matters?” – into the broad context of practical philosophy, by offering a conceptual map of clusters of micro-problems and concrete examples relating to “e-democracy”. The point is to highlight when and why the hyphen of e-democracy has a conjunctive or a disjunctive function, in respect to stocktaking from past experiences and settled democratic theories. My claim is that there is considerable scope to analyse how and why online politics fails or succeeds. The field needs both further empirical and theoretical work.