On-Line Discussion Forums in a Swedish Local Government Context

On-Line Discussion Forums in a Swedish Local Government Context

Agneta Ranerup
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-69-8.ch017
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This text describes experiences of four on-line discussion forums that are used in a Swedish local government context. The main issue is how aspects such as the implementation of the forums, functional features of the forums, and activities to increase access to Internet affect the on-line debate. Furthermore, the debate in the on-line forums is evaluated against the ideal of deliberative democracy. Lastly, three strategies for how the amount of debate in the on-line forums might be increased are outlined. One strategy would be to provide citizen groups with access to technology in order to involve them in the forum and the local government network as such. Another strategy would be to welcome a completely open debate in the forums, in the hope of getting a discussion that also includes issues that are of relevance to local government. Yet another strategy would be to more seriously involve local politicians in the discussion. This group seems to be of strategic importance when aiming at democratic effects of on-line forums.

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