Orwell in Athens

A Perspective on Informatization and Democracy


Snellen, I.Th.M.,
Van De Donk, W.B.H.J.,
Tops, P.W.

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Informatization is playing an increasingly important role in democratic politics. For some time already, various applications of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are, more or less successfully, used by politicians, representative bodies, political parties and citizens. It is, however, reasonable to believe that informatizaton will be of paramount interest for existing actors and institutions that are involved in public decision-making in a democracy. The advent of telecommunication infrastructures that will enable the use of all kinds of interactive facilities, is considered to be an important step towards a more participative democratic system. Many projects that share a common feature have been set up: their ambition to renew democratic decision-making structures and practises with the help of ICT. Most of these projects can be found at the level of local and/or regional government. In this book, the claim that these projects can reform or strengthen democratic politics is explored and discussed both empirically and theoretically. The research that is presented in this book makes clear that, as far as the role of informatization regarding the functioning of the democratic polity is concerned, it appears that informatization represents both opportunities and threats.