Platform Politics in Europe | A Tale of Three Platforms: Collaboration, Contestation, and Degrees of Audibility in a Bulgarian e-Municipality
This article presents a case study based in a medium-size Bulgarian city, Stara Zagora, where three different electronic platforms intended to support the interaction between citizens and institutions were introduced and tested between 2010 and 2018. These platforms had different driving actors, somewhat different profiles, and markedly distinct effects. The construction of the first platform was pursued through an e-government project led by a municipal official and financed with funds from the European Union. The second platform was My e-Municipality, an initiative undertaken by a small group of active citizens in collaboration with the city administration. The third platform was a set of interconnected Facebook groups through which citizens protested the destruction of a local park. The article defines and assesses the three distinct models of participation exemplified by the three platforms and discusses the challenges of achieving authentic engagement and response on the part of political and administrative institutions.