Political Participation in the Digital Age

An Ethnographic Comparison Between Iceland and Germany

This book explores the potential of the Internet for enabling new and flexible political participation modes. It meticulously illustrates how the Internet is responsible for citizens' participation practices from being general, high-threshold, temporally constricted, and dependent on physical presence to being topic-centered, low-threshold, temporally discontinuous, and independent from physical presence. With its ethnographic focus on Icelandic and German online participation tools Betri Reykjavík and LiquidFriesland, the book offers plentiful advice for citizens, programmers, politicians, and administrations alike on how to get the most out of online participation formats.

€44.99 * $60.00 *

19 February 2020, 224 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-4888-1

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Recommend it

Julia Tiemann-Kollipost

Julia Tiemann-Kollipost, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), Berlin, Deutschland

1. Why did You chose this topic?

In 2010, the creative and unusual (-ly digital) election campaign of Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr and the newly founded Best Party gained worldwide media attention. I had just spent a term studying at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík, so I was still very interested in everything happening on the island. Especially the Best Party's use of the Internet to basically crowdsource their party manifesto inspired me to look into innovative ways of using digital tools for political participation.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

My book offers a unique ethnographic perspective on political participation in the digital age in both Iceland and Germany. It focuses not on software or political frameworks, but on the actors engaging with the digital deliberation and participation tools. How do citizens, programmers, as well as politicians and administration interact with the platforms and each other? Under which circumstances do limitations of digital political participation become visible? What can be done to avoid them?

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

Initial euphoria about the Internet's potential to fundamentally innovate political decision-making processes and to mobilize large numbers of apolitical citizens has subsided. Still the integration of digital tools holds promises of citizens' increased political interest as well as low threshold acts of political participation. My book contributes thick descriptions of two case studies to the discourse on the everyday integration and usage of the Internet for deliberation and participation.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Since the aim of my book was always to contribute insights and practical recommendations of what works and what does not in terms of digital deliberation and participation processes, I would rather much prefer to discuss my book with all citizens, programmers, as well as politicians and administration interested in these topics rather than one specific theorist or thinker.

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

Look no further for interesting ethnographic insights on how to make use of the Internet to increase citizens' political interest and participation.

Book title
Political Participation in the Digital Age An Ethnographic Comparison Between Iceland and Germany
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 11 SW-Abbildungen, 4 Farbabbildungen
Commodity Group
POL003000 SOC052000 SOC002010
Release date
19 February 2020
Politik, Internet, Digitalisierung, Zivilgesellschaft
Cultural Anthropology, Ethnology, Political Science, Scandinavian Studies, Computer Science, Sociology
E-Democracy, E-Government, E-Governance, Digital Ethnography, Protest, Social Movements, Iceland, Germany, Reykjavík, Friesland, Liquid Democracy, Citizen Participation, Direct Democracy, Civil Society, Internet, Politics, Digital Media, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology of Media, Political Science

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