Teledemocratic Innovations that Public Officials Ignore-At Our Great Peril

Teledemocratic Innovations that Public Officials Ignore-At Our Great Peril

Ted Becker (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-130-8.ch003
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In this chapter, the author tackles the major problems plaguing representative democracies around the world. Importantly, these problems originate from the alienation of citizens. The problems manifest themselves, for example, in the dramatic decrease of voting turnouts particularly in the United States. There is a disconnect between the citizenry and political power in the field of public administration. Becker maintains that despite much talk about the needs to develop citizen-centered public administration, little practical change can be seen in this respect and by and large, the attempts to make governmental services more accessible by ICT have not lessened citizen’s feelings of estrangement and apathy. Having diagnosed the ills of representative democracy and public administration, Becker discusses new methods to bridge the gap between government and citizens and to fight political apathy. One of the methods of empowering citizens is scientific deliberative polling which has been experimented with successfully since the 1970s. The author also reviews the experiences of electronic town meetings, for example, AmericaSpeaks which was organized in New York in July 2002 to discuss how to rebuild the World Trade Center.

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