Broadening Democratic Participation? An exploratory study of e-democracy in 188 Finnish municipalities

Henrik Serup Christensen

Abstract


Municipalities in several countries have adopted measures of e-democracy in order to strengthen citizen involvement in the political decision-making. For this reason it has been expected that the Internet would lead to a deepening of democracy. However, e-democratic measures do not necessarily entail a deeper involvement of citizens in the political decision-making; it can also serve to strengthen the traditional representative structures. This study examines the implementation of e-democracy in the websites of 188 Finnish municipalities in order to assess whether the initiatives offered adapt a representative, participatory or deliberative perspective on democracy. The results suggest that the Finnish municipalities largely use their websites to inform citizens on on-going decision-making processes, thereby strengthening the traditional representative democracy rather than deepening the democratic involvement of citizens.


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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413