Civic Participation in the Datafied Society| Participatory Governance in the Digital Age: From Input to Oversight

Rikki Dean


Digital technologies are now an integral part of citizen-state encounters. This article surveys the interaction of four such technologies with four modes of public participation: knowledge transfer, collective decision making and action, choice and voice, and judgment and oversight. It enquires how different modes of participation are shaping the adoption of digital technologies and how digital technologies can amplify, challenge, or reshape modes of participation. The comparative approach enables a nuanced account of the ambivalent mixture of potentials and risks that sensing technology, data analytics, governance platforms, and social media represent for each participation mode. It also guards against a determinist mindset that overstates the transformative effect of technology, instead arguing that digitalization is less likely to create something radically new than recalibrate the composition of participatory activity, shifting emphasis from inputting expertise and preferences before a decision to oversight and judgment of decisions and implementation.


citizen participation, digital technology, participatory governance

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