An Explanatory Approach to the Political Uses of ICT Initiatives for Participation: Institutions, Context, and Characteristics of the Actors

An Explanatory Approach to the Political Uses of ICT Initiatives for Participation: Institutions, Context, and Characteristics of the Actors

Rosa Borge (Open University of Catalonia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch039
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Abstract

Political actors use ICTs in a different manner and in different degrees when it comes to achieving a closer relationship between the public and politicians. Usually, political parties develop ICT strategies only for electoral campaigning and therefore restrain ICT usages to providing information and establishing a few channels of communication. By contrast, local governments make much more use of ICT tools for participatory and deliberative purposes. These differences in usages have not been well explained in the literature because of a lack of a comprehensive explanatory model. This chapter seeks to build the basis for this model, that is, to establish which factors affect and condition different political uses of ICTs and which principles underlie that behaviour. We consider that political actors are intentional and their behaviour is mediated by the political institutions and the socioeconomic context of the country. Also, though, the actor’s own characteristics, such as the type and size of the organization or the model of e-democracy that the actor upholds, can have an influence in launching ICT initiatives for approaching the public.

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