The concept of deliberation has a powerful normative value for democracy that is seldom contested. Under deliberative conditions, opinion formation and decision-making is based on processes of public argumentation and reasoning among equal citizens.
In the last decades, the advent of online communication technologies has removed some hitherto insurmountable constraints in the realisation of large-scale political deliberation and has revived the deliberative ideal: governments increasingly include deliberative elements in their e-government projects, while unstructured political discussion is flourishing on the “wild” web. So-called “web 2.0” communication applications (such as social networking media, blogs, twitter, wikis, collaborative filtering, etc.) provide their users with a whole new set of opportunities and different modes of processing information, networking and interacting. What is less clear is their potential for creating the conditions needed for true deliberation.
This special issue focuses on exploring the deliberative potential of web 2.0 technologies and, at the same time, on the question of whether we need to rethink the very notion(s) of deliberation, in view of the ways in which people put to use the online tools available to them.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to:
- Definitions and typologies: criteria and methods for evaluating and measuring the deliberative potential of web 2.0 technologies
- Tensions between deliberation and equality, political activism/advocacy, identity politics: what advances, if any, are provided by the 'participatory web' in these respects?
- New media and the problems of like-mindedness, fragmentation and poor quality in online deliberation
- Applications and design of online deliberation
- Impact of online deliberation (in comparison to face-to-face deliberation)
- The question of scale: local, national, or transnational online deliberation? Challenges and opportunities
- Aims and scope of online deliberation: opinion formation, community/identity building, decision-making
The aim of this special issue is to provide broad and international coverage.
Contributors may operate in a number of disciplines, in theoretical or applied research, and may use various methodological perspectives, so that the notion of online deliberation is studied from different standpoints.
Deadline for paper submission: 30 June, 2011
Notification of review results: 30 September, 2011
Submission of revised manuscripts: 30 November, 2011