MIT e-Planning Seminar
ANN MACINTOSH, UK
"e-Democracy: enabling, engaging, empowering "
Friday, October 10, 2003
MIT Rm. 3-401, 12:15PM - 2:00PM
Discussants: Phillip Thompson, Jane Fountain
e-democracy is defined as the use of ICT to support the democratic processes where these processes can be viewed from two perspectives - one addressing the electoral process, including e-voting, and the other addressing citizen e-participation in democratic decision-making. By itself, e-voting will not solve the problem of democratic disengagement. The aim of e-voting is to move the election process into the 21st century and ensure that there is adequate access to voting facilities for the elderly, people with disabilities and others not able to travel to their polling station. On the other hand, e-participation is an attempt to address democratic disengagement by providing channels for engagement in between elections and by broadening and deepening the participation.
This presentation takes as its primary focus e-participation. It argues that:
Given the expanding knowledge base of e-democratic practice and the emergence of government e-democracy policy, there is every indication that the use of technology to enable, engage and empower civil society will increase. However E-Democracy is a novel combination of technical, social and political measures, and as such there is a need to recognize the complex processes required to make it the success it has to be.
Ann Macintosh is Professor of E-Governance and Director of the International Teledemocracy Centre at Napier University in Scotland. She was instrumental in setting up the ITC with sponsorship from BT Scotland in August 1999. The Centre is dedicated to researching innovative e-democracy systems that will strengthen public understanding and participation in government.
Since joining Napier University, she has established herself as an internationally recognised research leader in electronic democracy. She is actively involved with government, business and voluntary organisations concerned with the research and development of e-democracy systems in the UK, Europe and the Commonwealth. She was a member of the Scottish Executive's Ministerial Task Force on "Digital Scotland", and also a member of the original UK-Online working group to specify e-democracy services for the UK government portal. She is on the Advisory Council for the Commonwealth Centre for Electronic Governance and is on the Management Board of the International Centre for e-Governance. She is a consultant to the OECD on the use of ICT to enhance citizen engagement in the policy process.
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