Edited by Corien Prins, Colette Cuijpers, Peter L. Lindseth and Mônica Rosina
Chapter 16: Technology, democracy and institutional change
This volume is fundamentally about institutional change. The volume is not merely cautious in its overall assessment, but also cautionary, particularly as the contributors seek to understand the institution of democracy in relation to two social developments – digitalization and globalization – that are certainly disruptive but also potentially revolutionary. Regardless of how the most optimistic scholars and theorists conceptualize the new forms of transnational governance that seem to be emerging (particularly in the internet domain), the broader public may be experiencing these forms not as a new kind of democracy but as democracy’s negation – a kind of digital technocracy. The elites who populate the various fora of transnational governance – who occupy positions of power by virtue of participation in business, bureaucratic and technical networks – remain effectively immune from removal by any bottom-up collective political mobilization against them. This gives rise to a kind of political-cultural resistance that may contribute to the overall ‘stickiness’ of traditional forms of representative government on the national level in the face of the seeming functional demands posed by digitalization and globalization.
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