Building Knowledge through Debate: OpenDemocracy on the Internet

  • Caspar Melville


This comment by the Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology exemplifies the way we were told back in the earlier days of Internet evangelism that the future would be connected. It would be interactive, information would become free to move instantly around the world. Implicitly the digital promise was one of greater democracy. The technology of personal computers connected to each other over the Internet offers an unprecedented reach, transcending limits imposed by nationality, geography, clock-time and access (the ‘digital divide’ notwithstanding). As the theorist of new social movements Manuel Castells has argued (1996, 2001), the model for this new connectivity – in contrast to the top-down state, institution or landscape of distinct class interest – is the network. And this network could potentially include anyone who has a computer and Internet access.


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© Caspar Melville 2005

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  • Caspar Melville

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