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Democracy and the Information Revolution

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Drake, William J.
Conference: Democracy Forum 2001
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Conf. Date: 27-29 June
Date: 2001
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6008
Sector: Information & Knowledge
New Commons
Subject(s): democracy
information technology
Abstract: "How is the information revolution affecting the practice and prospects of democracy around the world? Is it growing the global public’s opportunties for free political expression and participation from the grassroots up, or rather is it simply reinforcing existing patterns of inequality and hierarchical power relationships? Is it strengthening the social foundations of electoral politics, such as political parties and a shared civic culture, or is it weakening them? Will it expand the ability of authoritarian regimes to utilize propoganda and to monitor their citizens’ behavior, or will it help pro-democracy activists to progressively chip away at their grip on power? These and similar questions have been addressed to varying extents on an individualized basis, particularly with respect to the experiences of the industrialized countries. But there has not been enough effort to explore them together as interrelated elements of a unified field, or to do so on a truly global basis that takes into account the wide disparities between rich and poor countries’s abilities to employ information and communications technologies (ICTs) in the political sphere."

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