ICTs and the Communicative Conditions for Democracy: A Local Experiment with Web-Mediated Civic Publicness

ICTs and the Communicative Conditions for Democracy: A Local Experiment with Web-Mediated Civic Publicness

Seija Ridell (University of Turku, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-130-8.ch005
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Abstract

In this chapter, the contribution of new information and communication technologies to enhancing democracy at the local level is articulated as a practical and empirical question that pertains to the locally established patterns and practices of public communication. It is suggested that in order to realize the democratic potential inherent in ICTs, the compartmentalized, hierarchical and one-way practices of both administrative-political machinery and the mainstream media must be exposed and challenged through concrete action. The article draws upon a participatory action research project in which alternative, dialogical and citizen-oriented forms of web-mediated public communication were created and maintained in close collaboration with grass-roots civic actors and groups. In the experimental project, specific efforts were made to enable and encourage online encounters between those local stakeholders that rarely meet in the discursive public spaces of mainstream media.

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