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Call For Papers
 

Legitimacy 2.0 –E-democracy and Public Opinion in the Digital Age

Deadline: March 30, 2011

Call for papers - Workshop "Legitimacy 2.0 –E-democracy and Public Opinion in the Digital Age", XXV. World Congress of Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, Frankfurt am Main (Germany), 15-20 August 2011

 

Call for Papers
Workshop ""Legitimacy 2.0 –E-democracy and Public Opinion in the Digital Age"
Organised by Patricia Mindus (Università Degli Studi di Torino) and Andrea Greppi (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

XXV. World Congress of Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
15-20 August 2011
http://www.jura.uni-frankfurt.de/ifkur1/neumann/ivr2011/ENG/index.html

Deadline = March 30, 2011

Short summary
E-democracy aims for broader and more active Internet-enhanced citizenship involvement but can there be any “democracy” after representative democracy ? Should we understand it in terms of deliberative and/or participative democracy ? How is e-government impacting on transparency and accountability ? What role does institutionalized mediation play in ICTs ? What kind of e-governance processes can enhance legitimacy in complex legal systems ? E-democracy has been cutting the edge a while, yet we need to integrate the current state of the art with the toolkit of the analytical and normative perspectives of legal and political theory. The purpose of the workshop is to go beyond the polarization between the apologists that hold the web to overcome the one-to-many architecture of opinion-building in traditional democratic legitimacy, and the critics that warn cyberoptimism entails authoritarian or paternalistic technocracy.

Format
The workshop offers a meeting point for scholars eager to share their findings in the field, enhancing comprehension between different approaches to law. Both analytical and normative perspectives are welcome. Please specify yours. Accepted papers will be distributed among workshop participants at an early stage to promote exchange of ideas and to better nail down the issues to be discussed in Frankfurt.

Techdeterminism and early cyber-optimism have not enhanced scientific understanding of the complex relationship between technology and our legal and political settings. We therefore welcome proposals that fall within one or more of the following themes :

1) ICT’s impact on the shaping of political opinion and Internet in campaigning
The Internet may have changed the politics, but now politics also change the Internet. We focus on how the “interconnected estate” impacts on individual and group ability voice concerns and question whether access is the key to creating interest in the democratic process. ICTs are held both to mobilize new audiences and push for polarisation and political apathy : To what extent does this highlight previous trends ? Are fringe organisations benefitting disproportionately ? Will digital recruitment fail ? Political communication change as we by pass traditional media gatekeepers : Does reporting as a collaborative enterprise accelerate pluralism or increase noise ? What responsibilities should bloggers have ? Resource-poor networks gain increased visibility but we know little of their impact on mainstream politics : How is the repertoire of electronic civil disobedience and hacktivism in authoritarian and democratic states changing ? What are the new frontiers of free speech protection ?

2) Democratic experimentalism and the tools of accountability
A weakness of internet studies is to link research to broader political and social trends. Connecting technologies have to be related to current frameworks within participatory and deliberative practices. The new toolkit of representation – including e-voting, on-line deliberation practices, transparency and accountability in e-government practices, e-governance schemes impacting on democratic legitimacy – needs to be scrutinized against the background of constitutional representative democracy. Is Internet flattening institutional hierarchies ? How is the digital revolution changing electioneering ? How are benefits for democratic decision-making influenced by previous institutional environments ? Are we moving towards a more fragmented and contested democratic model ?

3) Political, social and legal impact of informational complexity
The literature on digitalisation in law and politics often treat communication technology simply as one of many organizational devices rather than conceptualizing information as central features in public life. We therefore call for a better understanding of information ethics and the creation of collective intelligence and common goods, as well as the culture of sharing and various forms of peer-production inspiring social movements (e.g. open source and freeware). One key point is to grasp to what extent informational value emerges from the confluence of distributed user-generated content and its centralized exploitation and how the legal frameworks surrounding such practices are evolving. Should the relation between citizen and government be framed in terms of asymmetric information flows ? Will data mining technologies change what we hold to be public domain ? How can informed consent be designed today ? Does the internet’s architecture influence the public e-space ? In what ways can informationally sensible education help avoiding the creation of digital favelas tomorrow ?

Guidelines for abstract submission
Abstract proposals should be between 350 and 500 words in length. Preferred format for all submissions is RTF or Microsoft Word (doc). Please send your proposals as attachments to edemocracy.ivr2011@gmail.com and insert "Abstract submission" as the subject line of the message. The deadline for abstracts is March 30, 2011. All proposals will undergo peer review and notifications of acceptance will be sent out by April 15, 2011. Paper submission deadline is June 30, 2011.

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