Deliberative Manoeuvres in the Digital Darkness: e-Democracy Policy in the UK
Article first published online: 4 FEB 2013
© 2013 The Authors. British Journal of Politics and International Relations © 2013 Political Studies Association
The British Journal of Politics & International Relations
Volume 16, Issue 3, pages 410–427, August 2014
How to Cite
Moss, G. and Coleman, S. (2014), Deliberative Manoeuvres in the Digital Darkness: e-Democracy Policy in the UK. The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 16: 410–427. doi: 10.1111/1467-856X.12004
- Issue published online: 1 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 4 FEB 2013
Research Highlights and Abstract
- Critically reviews e-democracy policy thinking in the UK.
- Surveys and evaluates e-democracy activity in key areas, including online forums, open government and data, e-petitioning, and more recent ‘crowdsourcing’ initiatives.
- Defends the on-going importance of a more deliberative approach to e-democracy policy and practice.
This paper evaluates the UK Government's e-democracy policy and considers what lesson should be learned for future policy and practice. Despite some isolated examples of success, we argue that policy experimentation in the area has been disappointing overall, especially when compared with the ambitious rhetoric that has surrounded it, and has failed to culminate in a coherent strategy for using the Internet to support democratic citizenship. Our analysis emphasizes the on-going importance of online deliberation in achieving inclusive, informed, and negotiated policy formation and political decision-making. In the absence of inclusive sites and practices of public deliberation, the democratic value of non-deliberative experiments with petitioning and crowdsourcing and recent government efforts to open up public information and data for citizen auditing and evaluation is likely to remain limited.