E-Democracy and E-Participation Research in Europe
This chapter considers e-democracy and e-Participation research across Europe. This is a relatively new and emerging area of research when compared with other physical and social science disciplines. The range of contrasting and, in some instances, conflicting definitions of the terms emphasize the ‘newness’ of the domain. For this chapter, e-democracy and e- Participation can be considered as the use of information and communication technologies to broaden and deepen political participation by enabling citizens to connect with one another and with their elected representatives. The chapter begins by discussing the critical need for such research given that a large proportion of western society is drifting away from political activities such as voting in elections and joining political parties. Having discussed the growing apathy to formal political processes, the chapter then proceeds to discuss the current status of research and practice. e-democracy and e-Participation, by their very nature, are multi-disciplinary research activities with research based in democratic theory, political science, communication studies, information management, computer science and more. As such, researchers need to understand how to harmonize and align concepts and methods from this range of academic disciplines to ensure that an inter-disciplinary approach is adopted.
KeywordsCivil Society Political Participation Civil Society Organization Virtual Community Voter Turnout
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