A long-time lurker on the W3C e-government group, J.H.Snider, posted links to his 2001 commentary in Government Technology, E-Government vs. E-Democracy where he argued “that it is harmful to equate e-government with e-democracy reform because the motivations leading to the two types of reform are so different. If you are a government official opposed to e-democracy but supportive of e-government, I think conflating the two terms is good political strategy. But if you’re a democratic reformer, you want to reserve separate terms for e-government and e-democracy.”
He also provides a link to a more recent article of his on the politics of e-democracy entitled “Would You Ask Turkeys to Mandate Thanksgiving? The Dismal Politics of Legislative Transparency“, published in the Spring 2009 issue of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics.
I have little trouble agreeing with him having found e-democracy often sidelined, one way or the other, in the e-government debate by officials, politicials and academics. Some using e-democracy as a sales pitch for e-government, some the other way, whilst some just mix the two up. I continue to ask, as Snider does,
whether politicians are going to delegate power that easily!
If you are of a less cynical outlook you may be more appreciative of the new 388 page book from Stanford University “Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice” from editors Todd Davies and Seeta Pena Gangadharan (Creative Commons licensed) and its free for the PDF!
Well said. The confusion between democracy and government – not necessarily always in terms of ‘e’ – is something I continually come across, occasionally in quite alarming circumstances.