Information Communication Technologies and the Virtual Public Sphere: Impacts of Network Structures on Civil Society

Information Communication Technologies and the Virtual Public Sphere: Impacts of Network Structures on Civil Society

Robert A. Cropf (Saint Louis University, USA) and William S. Krummenacher (Saint Louis University, USA)
Indexed In: SCOPUS
Release Date: March, 2011|Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 352
ISBN13: 9781609601591|ISBN10: 1609601599|EISBN13: 9781609601614|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-159-1

Description

As the global information communications technology revolution continues to reshape our public and private institutions, e-democracy should also continue to make significant strides across the world.

Information Communication Technologies and the Virtual Public Sphere: Impacts of Network Structures on Civil Society demonstrates how the virtual public sphere uses information communications technology to empower ordinary citizens to engage in effective public discourse and provide the technological means to effect political change. Written with professionals, researchers of various disciplines and interested laypersons in mind, this text aims to help readers understand. the phenomenon of deliberative e-democracy that is occurring throughout the world.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Blended deliberative models
  • E-Communicative Mechanisms of Government
  • E-Financial Reporting
  • E-Participation in the Public Sphere
  • Factors Affecting E-Participation Adoption
  • Global E-Government and Trust
  • Online Public Debate
  • Perspectives on E-Government in Europe
  • Succession Planning and E-Government
  • Video Blogging and Ethics

Reviews and Testimonials

Up to now, there has been very little written exclusively on the role of deliberative forums in e-democracy and few attempts to summarize, interpret, and understand international examples of virtual public spheres. This book fills the gap with both theoretical and empirical treatments of the subject.

– Robert A. Cropf, Saint Louis University, USA; and William S. Krummenacher, Saint Louis University, USA

New forms of social media have played a large role in the recent wave of protests across the Middle East and services that were previously not taken seriously in the world of politics, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have played a large role. This volume considers the effects of new communication technologies on e-democracy and e-government, and to its credit, doesn't automatically take all the developments as positive. Edited by Cropf (public policy, Saint Louis U.) and Krummenacher (Center for Sustainability, Saint Louis U.), it includes a wide-ranging introduction that attempts to encompass the overall picture. Most of the articles are built upon specific studies, both in the developed world and in countries such as Zambia, Botswana, and India.

– Book News, Reference - Research Book News - August 2011

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Preface

The chief objective of this book is to assist the lay reader in understanding the phenomenon of digital democracy that is occurring around the world.  Information and communication technology (ICT) has the tremendous potential to alter in significant ways how we govern ourselves and engage in political activities. Facilitating citizen access and participation in governance and policy making has been part of the appeal of ICT to forward-thinking people, both inside and outside governments, ever since the very first personal computers were introduced publicly.  Many governments, however, use e-government—in some cases quite heavily—to pursue a “services first, democracy later” approach (Clift 2003, para. 21).  Indeed, the democratic aspects tend to be ignored or downplayed by governments, which more frequently focus on technology as a means to facilitate the efficient delivery of services. However, as e-government has taken root all over, more and more societies clamor for the next stage—the transition to e-democracy.

Another important objective of the book is to introduce the reader to a useful framework for understanding the diverse patterns of e-democracy development around the world.  In this regard, we draw on the public sphere theory of Jurgen Habermas in order to make sense of the plethora of virtual public for a that have been making vital contributions to e-democracy.  In the course of this exploration we ask questions such as: What is different about ICT-mediated political discourse? How can government and civil society work together to develop effective virtual town halls?  What are some of the possible pitfalls one is likely to encounter along the way to e-democracy, and how might these be best avoided?  Is e-democracy possible in developing countries and under what conditions? These are some of the questions that are raised and answered in the book.

Finally, the book’s last objective is to provide examples of effective virtual public spheres based on such efforts throughout the world. In many chapters, the authors provide cases of successful deliberative democracy online experiments, which they analyze for their efficacy, and which will provide models of online public spheres that should prove useful to students and activists.

Simply stated, the book’s mission is to provide the most up-to-date information on an important development in the use of ICT in politics by government and civil society: The widespread proliferation of virtual public spheres. Although its focus is largely on developed countries, it should also prove valuable to users in developing countries as well.  Indeed, a few of the chapters have been written about the experience of developing countries in moving towards e-government and e-democracy.  The book strives to be exhaustive in its coverage, but at the same time, readable. As much as possible, the use of specialized jargon has been avoided or defined within the text.  In short, the editors’ objective is nothing short of making this the most up-to-date and readable book on virtual public spheres currently available to readers.  Furthermore, we attempt to bridge the gap that currently exists between the more theoretical discussions of deliberative democracy online that is found, mostly in scholarly books and journals, and the practical reports, mostly on the World Wide Web, of state-civil society net experiments. 

Up to now, there has been very little written exclusively on the role of deliberative forums in e-democracy and few attempts to summarize, interpret, and understand international examples of virtual public spheres. This book fills the gap with both theoretical and empirical treatments of the subject.  It is our hope that readers will find this book a useful guide to an important political development on the Internet. 

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Robert Cropf is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of Public Policy Studies at Saint Louis University. His recent publications include “Creating an Accelerated Joint BA-MPA Degree Program for Adult Learners” in the Journal of Public Affairs Education (Spring/Summer 2007) coauthored with Jennifer Kohler, and E-Government in Saudi Arabia: Between Promise and Reality” in the International Journal of Electronic Government Research (April-June 2008), coauthored with Maher Al-Fakhri, Patrick Kelly, and Gary Higgs. His textbook Public Administration in the 21st Century was published by Pearson-Longman in 2007. His research interests include e-government and e-democracy, urban government and politics, and public administration pedagogical theory.
Scott Krummenacher is head of academic programs for the Center for Sustainability and adjunct assistant professor of Public Policy Studies at Saint Louis University. His recent works include “Déjà vu All Over Again – Charter Reform Fails” in More Than Mayor or Manager: Campaigns to Change Form of Government in America’s Large Cities coauthored with Todd Swanstrom and Robert Cropf, and “Regional System of Greenways: If You Can Make It In St. Louis, You Can Make It Anywhere” coauthored with Todd Swanstrom and Mark Tranel in the National Civic Review. His research interests include sustainability, regional governance, civic engagement and e-democracy.

Indices

Editorial Board

  • Marijn Janssen, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • Arthur Tatnall, Victoria University, Australia
  • Milas Gasco, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
  • Soon Ae Chun, City University of New York, USA
  • Mohammed Elbannan, Cairo University, Egypt
  • Ephrem Eyob, Virginia State University, USA
  • Tommi Inkinen, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • R.B. Jain, University of Delhi, India
  • Marlyn Kemper Littman, Nova Southeastern University, USA
  • Kerina Ann Logan, Massey University-Wellington Campus, New Zealand
  • Rose Melville, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • S.M. Mutula, University of Botswana, Botswana
  • Carlos Nunes Silva, University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • Chris Reddick, The University of Texas-San Antonio, USA
  • Prodromos Yannas, Technological Educational Institution of Western Macedonia, Greece
  • Kirsten Loutzenhiser, University of Illinois at Springfield, USA
  • Penelope Markellou, University of Patras, Greece
  • Hakikur Rahman, University of Minho, Portugal
  • Andrew Ó Baoill, Cazenovia College, USA
  • Subhajit Basu, University of Leeds, UK
  • Morten Falch, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • Reima Suomi, Turku School of Economics, Finland