Steve Ward of ERSI, University of Salford, on Politics and Internet

Steve Ward, who’s published a series of important papers with Rachel Gibson on political participation and the Net, talked today about how he thought ICTs have changed the political process.  He describes a broadening of the field of active participants; an increase in available information about NGOs and candidates and the like (with no comment as to quality); and a “difficult democracy” that ensues.  In response to a good question, he came out in a somewhat different place than Cass Sunstein does in Republic.com.  Ward was very provocative, and seeking, helpfully, to get past the presumption that the Net must be altogether good for democracy.

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