Open Government, Technological Innovation and the Politics of Democratic Disillusionment: (E-)Democracy from Socrates to Obama

Oren Perez
2012 Social Science Research Network  
There is an intriguing dissonance between the optimistic democratic vision underlying the open government movement, which seems to be driven by a belief in the transformative power of technology, and the actual achievements of the e-democracy movement in changing the praxis of democratic engagement. The present article explores this dissonance in order to develop a better understanding of the potential as well as the limits of the Internet in fostering democratic engagement. The article begins
more » ... ith a discussion of the competing theoretical concepts that drive the debate on open government and edemocracy, contrasting between Plato's political model in The Republic (governance by philosopher king) and the open government model, especially as envisaged by President Obama (Section II). The subsequent Sections (III-V) provide an in-depth study of three e-democracy projects involving three Canadian agencies and a transnational organization (AccountAbility). Together the three case studies expose some of the critical challenges facing the e-democracy movement. The article proceeds to develop a new model of citizenship that I term "punctuated citizenship," which seeks to capture the dissonance underlying the current edemocracy movement (Section VI). The article concludes with a discussion of the pragmatic challenges facing the open government and e-democracy projects. I argue that the
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2078741 fatcat:wpof5y6alrfwbgfyjc6zwuaeza