Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance
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Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance

Edited by Stephen Elstub and Oliver Escobar

Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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Chapter 7: Digital participation

Hollie Russon Gilman and Tiago Carneiro Peixoto


This chapter covers the use of digital technology across democratic innovations. It critically reviews the extent to which the use of digital platforms and ‘civic technology’ assists or hinders their practice, implementation and normative credentials. We then assess the efficacy of digital technology in furthering democratic goods according to the criteria of democratic norms outlined by Graham Smith (2009) of: inclusiveness; popular control; considerate judgment; and transparency. The chapter concludes by highlighting five areas for researchers to examine with respect to ‘civic tech’ these include, but are not limited to: (1) addressing the digital divide; (2) incentives for public administrators and maintenance of digital platforms; (3) role of government and value of public-private partnerships; (4) measurement of impact; and (5) embedding pilot programs. A goal of this chapter is to provide future research pathways at the intersection of digital technology and democratic innovations for both researcher and practitioners.

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