How do French Municipalities Communicate on Citizen Involvement?: The Success of Participatory Democracy in France

How do French Municipalities Communicate on Citizen Involvement?: The Success of Participatory Democracy in France

Christophe Premat (Centre Émile Durkheim (Sciences Po Bordeaux), France & Institut Français of Sweden, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4173-0.ch016
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Abstract

The chapter updates a former study on digital communication at local level in France in 2006. The goal is to analyse the explanatory factors which influence the digital communication of municipalities on participatory democracy. Why are there municipalities which communicate more on these resources than others? It is important to compare the situation of these municipalities in 2006 and in 2012 because there was a power shift after the last municipal election in 2008. The focus will be on municipalities of more than 30.000 inhabitants as they have the possible resources to support a digital strategy. A quantitative method was used to select the variables which affect the communication on participatory tools. In other words, the article deals with the way politicians promote citizen engagement at local level through updated websites.
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2. State Of The Art

There is a distinction between local e-government and e-democracy. The local e-government refers to the digital interface between local authorities and citizens. “E-government is not an end in itself. It is at the heart of the drive to modernise government. Modernising local government is about enhancing the quality of local services and the effectiveness of local democracy” (Raynsford & Beecham, 2002, p. 5). The need for an efficient e-government grew with the use of computers by local administrations (Jaeger, 2003). The first studies on the question were made in the U.S. with an analysis of the services provided through internet to citizens. In September 2001, 56% of U.S. households had computers; they were just 42% in December 1998 (Hauer et al., 2002). The promotion of e-government was all the easier as most of citizens were connected to internet. Different studies were made on e-government in Europe and in Asia at the beginning of the years 2000 (Howard, 2001; OECD, 2003; Holzer & Kim, 2004).

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