The People’s Assembly: Testing the Collaborative (e)-Democracy

Ülle Toode 1 *

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Abstract

This paper aims to critically analyse the Estonian People’s Assembly (EPA), a crowdsourcing initiative carried out from 2013 to 2014. During the project, citizens could participate in decision-making and make proposals for laws and policies on a dedicated web-platform. Additionally, some people were invited for a traditional off-line debate. In that way, the project combined virtual communication tools with traditional discussion to apply the principles of collaborative e-democracy, in which governmental stakeholders and non-governmental stakeholders (such as local communities) join in a deliberative debate. The purpose of this paper is to observe, both, gains and problems of this crowdsourcing initiative. The analysis considered the design of the online space, if people had equal access to it, and the kind of issues proposed. It also applied critical discourse analysis (following Fairclough, 1995) and the index Quality of Understanding (Klinger & Russmann, 2015). As a conclusion, the paper suggests that virtual platforms can increase the quality of deliberative decision-making. However, they can also be seen as regulated “top-down” initiatives (Pellizzoni, 2012). In a wider perspective, the paper aims to contribute to knowledge on, both, positive and negative stances of deliberative crowdsource initiatives in a post-web society.

Keywords

e-democracy e-government web-forums deliberative platforms

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

https://doi.org/10.29333/ojcmt/7836

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 10, Issue 2, Article No: e202005

Published Online: 17 Mar 2020

Article Views: 734

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