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Meijer’s (2012) peer-reviewed, scholarly article examines aspects of electronic democracy. It begins with a discussion of perspectives of democracy and argues that new technologies transform participatory practices. Based on a review of Athenian concepts of democracy, Habermas’ deliberative ideals, and De Tocqueville’s emphasis on citizen agency, Meijer (2012) explains that democracy entails a combination of voting, debating, and practicing. He maintains, “voting, debate, and practice provide different venues for citizen input in public value production and distribution” (Meijer, 2012, p. 307). Indeed, participatory democracy includes an array of practices, existing on a continuum, but “differentiated in terms of the role that government and citizens play in these interactions” (Meijer, 2012, p. 307). New technologies play a crucial role in modern democratic participation by reducing barriers to participation such as time and cost. Moreover, they impact scope and scale of engagement as well as establish new patterns of interactions and robust agencies (Meijer, 2012).
Based on the discussion of literature and characteristics of new technologies, Meijer (2012) proposes three possible future directions for democracy. The first scenario proposes that government will no longer need citizens; the second, that elaborate forms of government-citizen interactions will evolve; and the third, that citizens will not need government anymore (Meijer, 2012). Obviously, they are extremes conceived to illustrate the various points the author intended to make about the benefits and drawbacks of each scenario. Likely, reality will produce a mixture and overlapping of the scenarios. Nevertheless, the article highlights an important point, namely that ideologies from both ends of the extreme (leftwing hippies and conservative Tea Party) favor the “do-it-yourself state” for similar and opposing reasons (Meijer, 2012).
Reviewing potential directions participatory democracy may take, will aid in developing my dissertation topic by creating awareness of the impacts of technological advancements. Moreover, arguments concerning the impact of technological advancements on citizens’ ability to organize and participate represent an integral part of my dissertation topic. Nevertheless, certain assertions put forth in this article appear somewhat controversial. For instance, the arguments of government not needing citizens and citizens not needing government are bewildering.
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- Meijer, A. J. (2012). The Do It Yourself State. Information Polity: The International Journal Of Government & Democracy In The Information Age, 17(3/4), 303-314. doi: 10.3233/IP-2012-000283 Meijer’s (2012) peer-reviewed, scholarly article examines aspects of electronic democracy. It begins with a discussion of perspectives of democracy and argues that new technologies transform participatory practices. Based on a review of Athenian concepts of democracy, Habermas’ deliberative ideals, and De Tocqueville’s emphasis on citizen agency, Meijer (2012) explains that democracy entails a combination of voting, debating, and practicing.... [tags: politics, State, power]
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Pantazidou, M. (2012). What’s next for Power Analysis? A Review of recent experiences with the Powercube and related frameworks. IDS Working Papers, 2012(400), 1-46.
Pantazidou’s (2012) article is an extension of Gaventa’s (2006) original research concerning the ‘Powercube.’ The article responds to criticism and chronicles experiences in application by organizations. It clarifies what the tool is intended to do – aiding in the analysis of power frameworks to achieve social change – as well as how it can promote learning, action, and evaluation. It further notes that the tool is not prescriptive, but should be used in a flexible manner as appropriate for a given organization or adapted as needed to fit situational characteristics.
The discussion of the various cases in the article is both illuminating and informative. However, the variety of cases presented also poses limitations as they are not fully discussed, developed, and evaluated. Furthermore, because the article is a summary of previous research and case analysis, it offers few new insights. Nevertheless, Pantazidou contributes insights regarding the use of the powercube and its application in analyzing power structures and the organization of participatory spaces. This latter part may become important for my dissertation as it may provide insights into citizen choices of political participation and forums.
Rahim, S. A., Pawanteh, L., & Salman, A. (2012). Citizenship norms and the participation of young adults in a democracy. International Journal of Social, Human Science, and Engineering, 6(4), 536-540.
The peer-reviewed, scholarly article by Rahim, Pawanteh, and Salman (2012) explores evolving citizenship norms in Malaysia. In their article, the authors define three dimensions of citizenship, namely civil, political, and social, that impact its concept and practice (Rahim et al., 2012). However, the authors further observe the influence of globalization on these three factors contributing to a spread of democratic values, diversity, and changes in how younger generations politically engage (Rahim et al., 2012). Using interviews from 1,697 respondents, the study seeks to explore changing citizenship norms as well as how “norm shift is altering and expanding the patterns of political participation” (Rahim et al., 2012, p. 2). Research findings suggest a shift from duty-based to engaged citizenship norms in younger generations, specifically for the group of 21-40 year-olds (Rahim et al., 2012). Nevertheless, both forms coexist, meaning that citizens do not necessarily acquire one norm at the expense of the other (Rahim et al., 2012).
Rahim, Pawanteh, and Salman’s (2012) research illustrate that a shift in norms does not translate into political disengagement. The authors note that “the shifting of citizenship norms from a traditional duty-citizen to an engaged-citizen norm does not necessarily mean the end of democracy as it is traditionally defined” (Rahim et al., 2012, p. 4). Quite in contrast, the authors argue that changing in citizenship norms in Malaysia have led the young generation to develop new avenues for participation and expand upon existing ones (Rahim et al., 2012). However, the results should be treated with caution due to limitations and biases. For one, data comparison appears to be unavailable, as no earlier studies exist, which makes assertions concerning changes in citizenship norms anecdotal. Similarly, the young generation is defined as people between 18 and 40 years, which coincidentally is the age range of the sample population (Rahim et al., 2012). Consequently, statements made about an increase in engaged citizenship norms compared to older generations may be unfounded.
While the argument made by Rahim et al. (2012) is an important and often iterated one, research in the U.S. too often focuses singularly on duty-based aspects of political participation. As a result, this article provides an additional dimension to consider when working on my dissertation. In other words, its significance lies not only with its findings that a norm shift is both altering and expanding political participation, but also that the acquisition of engaged citizenship does not necessarily occur at the expense of duty-based citizenship.
Cornwall, A. (2002). Locating citizen participation. IDS Bulletin, 33(2), 49-58. Retrieved from http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/CentreOnCitizenship/1052734364-cornwall.2002-locating.pdf
Gaventa, J. (2006). Finding the spaces for change: A power analysis. IDS Bulletin, 37(6), 23-32.
Gutmann A, Thompson D. (2004). Why Deliberative Democracy? Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ.Press