Browsing Faculty of Social Sciences by Subjects
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E-Democracy from the Perspective of Local Elected Members.Although efforts for developing e-democracy have been underway for over a decade, recent literature indicates that its uptake by citizens and Elected Members (EMs) is still very low. This paper explores the underlying reasons for why this is so from the perspective of local EMs in the context of UK local authorities. It draws on findings reported in earlier works supplemented with primary case study data. Findings are interpreted through the lens of Giddens structuration theory, which assists in drawing out issues related to three dimensions of human agency: communication of meaning, exercising power and sanctioning behaviour. The paper abstracts categories of agency from the findings and uses these to formulate eight propositions for creating an e-friendly democratic culture and enhancing EMs uptake of e-democracy. These propositions provide an indication for future e-democracy research direction.
Examining e-democracy through a double structuration loopThis paper develops a structurational framework for examining e-democracy. This framework draws on the Giddens structuration theory, Owanda Orlikowski's Structurational Model of Technology (SMT) and her technology-practice lens, to bring into focus democratic practices facilitated by Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). An examination of social practices mediated by technology assists in uncovering the underlying structures that enable and constrain actors in democratic engagement. The framework ties together the technology-shaping process and technology-use process, that both act on each other to shape the emergent role of e-democracy. It sensitises researchers to the dialectic interaction of institutional mediation structures, technology mediation structures and human agency. In particular, this framework draws attention to 11 key social structures and agency issues that need to be explored by researchers for building a deeper understanding of how the role of e-democracy is enacted and its impacts moderated in the democratic process. This paper argues that this framework provides a useful lens for analysing social issues surrounding e-democracy.
Informatization of local democracy: A structuration perspectiveAcademics and researchers face a challenge of making sense of the role e-democracy plays in the democratic process and with what implications. This requires a deeper understanding of the objectives and assumptions that underpin e-democracy innovations, as well as institutional and technology structures that condition their role in democratic engagement. This paper interprets case study data collected from three UK local authorities in light of Giddens Structuration theory to make sense of the role e-democracy plays in the democratic process. From the data, it elicits and identifies categories of social structures as perceived by different actors surrounding e-democracy. The insights gained suggest that social structures influence actors in prioritising, shaping and appropriating e-democracy and thus, in moderating its role in local democracy. Using these insights the paper offers some useful suggestions for enhancing democratic engagement through e-democracy projects.
Towards building an integrated perspective on e-democracyThis paper evaluates the dominant perspectives for understanding e-democracy in practice. It argues that although these, on their own, only provide static and partial accounts of the role and implications of e-democracy, nevertheless they should not be disregarded. The paper proposes an integration of their key positions to generate a more rounded and complete account of the role of e-democracy in practice. It suggests that Giddens's Structuration Theory provides a starting point in this direction. A structuration perspective is able to integrate many of the diverse perspectives whilst simultaneously avoiding technological and social determinism by focusing attention on the interplay of social structures and agency in e-democracy practices. This perspective assists in illuminating the underlying institutional arrangements and structures in which e-democracy practices are embedded, as well as the strategies employed by human actors. It focuses attention on structures of signification, domination and legitimation that surround e-democracy practices and also how individuals are both enabled and constrained in these practices. It is argued that more complete and balanced accounts which emerge from such an integrated perspective could assist in developing a more effective e-democracy policy.