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The evolution of democratic participation

Rethinking representation involves expanding the deliberative community and redefining not only who decides on public issues, but how those decisions are made. Español, Português

Created by Maria Boehling for Flickr. Some rights reserved.

This piece is an excerpt from an original article published as part of the eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta series, which can be found here.

Currently, it could be said that the meanings of citizen participation are changing, and within this process of redefining this concept, we see different forms and advances aligning themselves and extending the connotations of what once meant participating, debating and interacting. 

Without a doubt, participation is among those subjects which are becoming the transversal axis of many public discussions, as it constitutes one of the issues capable of redefining our democracies with regards to the very systems of governance.

In this vein, we observe how many civil society initiatives are broadening their scope, and making use of the technological tendencies offered by the internet.

Initiatives like Democracia en Red (Democracy on the Net) born in Buenos Aires in 2012 and product of the desire to create online tools that facilitated the processes of democratic participation and that promoted the institutionalisation of such tools, does so through the use of open code software that is accessible, versatile, and allows for wider societal participation.

During years of investigation and experimentation, an online platform was created – also using open code – DemocracyOS, that facilitates individuals, groups and/or organisations to propose, debate and vote on freely selected topics. 

Tools like these encourage an increase in citizen participation, foster deliberative democracy and drive the creation of active citizens. This is of vital importance given the characteristics of our time, which provides us with hundreds of instruments consistently at our disposal that allow us to read and understand issues of a social, political or economic nature that citizens face, that allow us to see society through the lens of data analysis and diverse methods of interaction.


About the author

Ana Lis Rodríguez es licenciada en Antropología por la Universidad de Buenos Aires, Magíster en Desarrollo Humano de FLACSO-PNUD e investigadora en temáticas de género y participación ciudadana, es directora de investigación de Democracia en Red.

Ana Lis Rodríguez holds a Bachelor degree in Anthropology from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master degree in Human Development from FLACSO-UNDP. She does research on gender issues and citizen participation, and is Director of Research at Democracia en Red.

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