democraciaAbierta

How ideological checking is empowering citizens

Technology has fostered – theoretically – better informed participatory processes. Ideological checking apps, which allow citizens to contrast and better understand electoral programs, are enriching traditional processes, such as holding elections. Español, Português

Edgar Rovira
21 April 2018
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Photo: Nick Youngson. All rights reserved. CC BY-SA 3.0

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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.

Digital society has affected all life processes, politics included. The diverse transformations to which we are witnesses today make us think of the new and sophisticated tools that, through citizen participation, can be constructed in a collaborative way to promote better governance.

We can already see the first symptoms of this citizen empowerment that is proposing changes and activating processes that before had become stagnant or hidden without visibility.

Throughout this chapter, empowerment is explained through two elements that have triggered the phenomenon: The first, related to political crisis and the effects of globalisation, as well as the wear and tear of western democratic structures.

The second, which will be the focus, is the development of the network society, that has decreased the barriers previously preventing the creation of new projects.

Accordingly, we see how voter orientation applications or voting advice applications appear as tools that help citizens to get to know the electoral programs of different parties and their ideologies.

Voter orientation applications can be regarded as citizen driven initiatives based on the principle that technology can carry out ideology checks that improve democratic processes by concerning themselves with spreading knowledge among citizens in a different way.

The truth is that recent investigations have shown these types of applications have a different impact depending on the type of public they are directed to. Those with a lower level of education benefit the most since they have demonstrated more interest in the electoral process and an increased disposition for participating after using them. 

Throughout this text different studies have been revealed about how ideology checking applications are impacting our society, whilst considering their limitations and analysing different growth alternatives that are forward-looking in nature.

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