Citizen Consultaions via Government Web Sites

Citizen Consultaions via Government Web Sites

M. Holzer (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—Newark, USA) and R. W. Schwester (John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch024
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Abstract

Cynicism toward government is largely a function of trust and social capital (Berman 1997; Putnam 2000). The relationship between government and its citizens has been strained. First, some citizens cynically feel as though government officials abuse their powers in the interest of self-aggrandizement; second, citizens often feel disconnected from government; third, government service delivery is frequently portrayed as inadequate. Administrative strategies to reverse these perceptions typically emphasize the benefits of government and improved service delivery. Some go further, offering individuals a means of influencing public policy and government decision-making, as opposed to traditional structures and cultures of policymaking that minimize citizen input. The Internet is a potentially powerful means for citizen consultation, and may help cultivate a governmental landscape in which information is more accessible, people feel more connected to government, and citizens are better able to participate in political and decision-making processes. This article examines the Internet as a consultative medium, whereby emphasis is placed on government efforts to use Web-based applications as a means of promoting meaningful citizen participation.

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