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Title: The value of using local political online forums to reverse political disengagement
Author: Dunne, Kerill
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 9244
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2008
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There has been a growing concern regarding political disengagement among citizens within liberal thin democracies. This concern has brought about calls for local political online forums to be used to support participatory and deliberative democracy online to reverse this trend. However, little empirical investigation has been conducted into what such forums can support in terms of participatory and deliberative democracy. After an extensive review of the E-Democracy literature three research questions were developed to examine the value of using online forums to reverse political disengagement. A two pronged methodological approach consisting of qualitative and two-phase quantitative methods was used to examine these research questions, and to test specific recommendations on how to build online forums. It was found that, firstly, local political online forums cannot support direct or full-participatory democracy and such forums are mainly situated within liberal thin democratic models. Secondly, forums which are placed within local government websites have a greater chance of being inactive. Finally, non-government supported forums can support a type of discussion which increases citizens' participation in local political discussions. These results taken together mean that local political online forums will not reverse political disengagement. They do not fail because of some inherent design fault, but because political disengagement is tied to citizens' dislike of liberal thin democracy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available