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Democracy beyond the information age: 21st century political communication

Christa Daryl Slaton (Auburn University, 7080 Haley Center, AL 36849‐5208, USA)
Ted Becker (Auburn University, 7080 Haley Center, AL 36849‐5208, USA)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 1 April 2000



This article asserts that modern representative democracy was never intended nor designed to function as a democracy and that progress in the past two hundred years has come from the persistence of citizens operating outside established hierarchical power structures. A transformation of modern representative democracy is underway and information and communication technology (ICT) is a key component in the evolution of more participatory democratic governments. The failings of modern representative democracy are highlighted by the decline in voting turnout rates and a high level of dissatisfaction with and distrust of elected political leaders. While advances in technology and the expansion and availability of information can hinder and harm efforts to advance democracy, this article seeks to balance the discourse by emphasizing the potentials and benefits and by seeking solutions to problems in the representative systems. This is approached through the examination of four areas of enormous innovation and experimentation in utilizing ICT to develop new forms of greater citizen participation within representative democracy and for creating more effective direct democracy: voting from home, scientific deliberative polling, electronic town meetings and direct democracy activities. The main conclusion is that ICT has aided forces that favour a stronger infuence by citizens in representative government which is already in the process of being transformed as nations move towards the global economy and citizens insist on more self‐governance.



Daryl Slaton, C. and Becker, T. (2000), "Democracy beyond the information age: 21st century political communication", Foresight, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 199-209.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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