E–deliberation and local governance: The role of computer mediated communication in local democratic participation in the United Kingdom

Joss Hands


This paper focuses on the use of local government Web sites in the United Kingdom to encourage and facilitate democratic deliberation. The question addressed is to what end, and on whose terms, citizens are being encouraged to engage local government via computer–mediated communication. After an initial investigation into the legislative framework of local e–democracy, this paper examines opportunities available for citizens to deliberate by examining 469 local government Web sites. This information is then reviewed in the context of empirical evidence on the practices and attitudes of those responsible for the management and upkeep of the specific sites under question. It appears that while interaction is being encouraged, it is limited and tends towards an individualistic liberal model.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v10i7.1258

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