Participatory democracy and public engagement
This chapter explores and discusses scholarly insights about the use of digital technologies and data in digital government relationships with citizens to establish innovative participatory forms of governance, the impact of these innovations, and their outcomes. Some of the early scholarly ideas are discussed about the Internet displacing traditional representative democratic systems, leading to new forms of direct democracy and active citizenship. The chapter also considers ‘second generation’ scholarly thinking about the democratic reform potential of digital technologies in the public sector, often referred to as ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘Government 2.0’. Particularly the use of social media in digital government relationships in order to establish more interactive and participatory forms of governance and, with that, more effective forms of public engagement is discussed. The chapter also explores scholarly insights about emerging innovative networked forms of participatory and collaborative governance, such as the ‘Fifth Estate’ (Dutton, 2009), which can be even beyond any direct involvement of government. It discusses emerging issues and barriers around governments’ use of digital technologies and data to establish participatory forms of governance and more effective public engagement. And finally, it considers strategies and design principles in order to achieve public sector reform ambitions of enhanced participatory democracy.