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Friends without Benefits: Critical Assessment of the Relationship between E-governance and Democracy
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Technology and Media.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

New information and communication technologies are often viewed as a panacea to thecurrent crisis of representative democracy. The growing number of publications on thedemocratization effects of the use of new information and communication technologies (ICT)in governance focuses on social media and emerging online public spheres. This thesisexamines the democratic potential of ICT from the supply side represented by the concepts ofe-governance and e-government. In the context of destabilization of political communicationsystem, e-governance as a top-down initiative has a better chance to serve as a congregativeforce formalizing institutional procedures between the multi-public spheres and the decisionmakers and, thus, democratizing political communication. The first part of the thesis pullstogether the key concepts of electronic transformation – e-governance, e-government and edemocracy–andanalyzesthemwithinabroadercontextofnewgovernance.Thedemocratictest,based on evaluation against Robert Dahl’s five democratic criteria and democraticdeficits of new governance, indicates numerous negative consequences of e-governance forrepresentative democracy. Moreover, implemented in different institutional settings ofdemocratic and non-democratic regimes, e-governance varies in the level of development andimpact on political communication and political systems in general. To verify theoreticalconclusions empirically, a global study was conducted for two points in time – 2003 and2008; it examined the relationship between e-governance and democracy controlling for theimpact of telecommunication infrastructure development. Hypothesis testing revealed that thelevel of e-governance development and its correlation with democracy strongly varied inrelation to the type of political system. The findings suggest that it is premature to ascribedemocratization effects to e-governance disregarding existing institutional settings. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 84 p.
Keyword [en]
e-governance, e-government, democracy, political communication infrastructure, new governance
National Category
Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-15903OAI: diva2:504522
Subject / course
Media and Communication Science MK1
Educational program
International Master's Programme in Journalism, Media and Democracy SJOAA 120 higher education credits
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-10-24 Created: 2012-02-20 Last updated: 2013-10-24Bibliographically approved

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