The democracy in a network society: Problems and prospects of development

Yaroslav V. Samarin, St. Petersburg State University
2020 Politėks. Političeskaja ėkspertiza  
This article examines the role of the new media and social networks as a factor in the development of deliberative democracy. In the late 1990s, it was thought that the communication revolution would be a way to overcome the crisis of representative democracy. With the development of the Internet, the transition from a hierarchical model of communications to a network was supposed to bring changes to the sphere of politics. New media and social networks should guarantee ac- cess of civil
more » ... to the political public sphere and help narrow the gap between the elite and the people. Requirements are being formulated to increase the transparency and accountability of state institutions, and to strengthen policy control. It was believed that the Internet will become a place where the principles of deliberative democracy will be embodied. But now we should admit that the new media development causes disappointment, and a times anxiety. Instead of the growth of public discussions, we may encounter "echo chambers", a victim of the essence of information for effect, which as a result, leads to the radicalization of citizens. Governments and IT-corporations exploit the increased capabilities of social networks and Big Data to control and manipulate information, which jeopardizes the possibility of free discussion. The impact on emotions and simple slogans turned out to be more acceptable in the Internet age than a reflec- tive discussion on social issues. The communication revolution has led to changes in the public sphere, but at the same time, it can lead to the erosion of democracy.
doi:10.21638/spbu23.2020.204 fatcat:ttqxwepqqrb2bopb2iiaixliaq