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The Big Picture for e-Participation

For the final paper at EDEM 2009, we're on to Ursula Maier-Rabler, whose interest is in e-politics from administrative through to communicative democracy, and from individual citizens through to state institutions and parties. This creates a two-dimensional matrix: e-Government is administrative and driven by institutions, e-democracy communicative, but still driven by institutions; e-voting is administrative, but relies on the individual, and e-participation is individually driven and communicative.

e-Participation supports the empowerment of people oo integrate in bottom-up decision making, make informed decisions, and develop social and political responsibility - and to achieve this, it is necessary to start with young people in order to develop a participatory culture (which may be different in its specific shape from country to country). This ties into Web 2.0 and similar participatory platforms,and must be integrated also into general political education in order to create a new homo politicus in the online environment.

This focus on education must be a major target of e-policies in each country, then. There are certain preconditions for such approaches, then, and there are different levels of participation which this may achieve (self-organisation, support for existing projects, discussion and distribution of information).

...and that's where my laptop battery finally ran out - which is a shame, as this was a really nice conceptual paper that could have been very useful at the start of the conference, too. Overall, anyway, a very good conference, and one worth keeping in mind for the future. EDEM 2010 will be held in Krems, Austria, in May 2010 - keep an eye out for it.

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