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How a new era of digital democracy will change how we interact with politics

Digital innovations may change the quality of participation and the nature of democracy, but how? Español, Português

 

Photo: LATINNO Project. All 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, due to the development of technological tools of information and communication, many spheres such as that of sciences, education and even democracy are finding themselves severely impacted. Despite it being difficult to measure these effects, their impacts on politics and society are increasingly evident. 

Traditional forms of political participation are becoming more effective and transparent as a result of the transformation provoked by general access to the internet and digital tools.

It has been demonstrated that social networks are the perfect ally when it comes to promoting democratic revolts, mass mobilisations, awareness about topics of interest or simply convoking strikes, protests or any other type of grievance. 

However, the fact that this new era of digital democracy is more accessible, more prone to collective construction and co-creation of innovative solutions does not mean that they are impossible to manipulate or distort.

During the recent elections in the US, computing engineers confirmed that the electronic voting machines could have been hacked, altering the results in districts which depended on them.

It is in such a way that post-truths and post-events come to play an important role as drivers of protests, results of manipulative media strategies to provoke democratic instability.

Nonetheless, what has truly impacted democracy in a radical way is not so much the revitalization of traditional forms of political participation but the transformations that are being consolidated in relation to the functioning of democracy, the state and the way in which representation is made a reality thanks to digital democratic innovations.

About the author

Thamy Pogrebinschi is senior researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and coordinator of the Innovations for Democracy in Latin America Project (LATINNO).

Thamy Pogrebinschi es investigadora del Centro de Ciencias Sociales WZB Berlín y coordinadora del proyecto lnnovaciones para la Democracia en América Latina (LATINNO). 


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