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The e-democracy of Finnish municipalities has room for development

The City of Turku Urban Research and Statistics Unit, has published a research briefing that shows Finnish local government websites provide citizens with a wealth of information on current issues and political decision-making processes, but notes that, in other respects, they have room for the development of e-democracy.

The term e-democracy refers to activities aimed at increasing the participation of citizens in political decision-making through the use of new information and communication technologies – in which the Internet plays a central role.

The study by Henrik Serup Christensen, a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science in Åbo Akademi University, classified three concepts of democracy and examined the participatory e-democracy initiatives municipalities offer on their websites, conducting an exploratory study of 188 municipal websites in municipalities with more than 5000 inhabitants.

The study revealed that Finnish municipalities and local government authorities use Internet pages to provide citizens with information in accordance with the representative perspective on e-democracy. However, Finnish local government websites offer much less in the way of active participation that can promote the flow of information moving bottom-up – from citizens to decision-makers – in accordance with the idea of participatory and deliberative democracy.

Christensen points out that promoting e-democracy is not just about having the latest tools for increasing webpages. A vibrant e-democracy requires a clear and consistent understanding of the role that Internet webpages can have in the political system, and how citizens can take advantage of those webpages in acquiring knowledge and influencing political decision-making.

Christensen was one of ten scientists to whom the City of Turku awarded a research grant in December 2011.

Read more:

Henrik Serup Christensen: E-democracy in Finnish municipalities. The City of Turku, Urban Research and Statistic Unit’s Research Briefings 4b/2012. 6 pp.

Research Briefings is part of City of Turku’s Urban Research and Statistics Unit publication series, which publishes concise reviews on urban studies and the development of contemporary issues. Research Briefings is produced in cooperation with the City of Turku, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi’s Turku Urban Research Programme.

suomenkielinen versio | english version

Sivua viimeksi päivitetty 18.10.2012 12:21 ja sivu on julkaistu 18.10.2012 12:21



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