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Networks for Citizen Participation (CP-Network)

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
31 marzo, 2017
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Translation: Miguel Angel Pérez Álvarez

Citizen Participation nowadays and the use of the Net and the social media

Citizen Participation (CP) has reached a new dimension and multiple meanings in the Internet era. Easy access to the Internet and the networks that are created in it, fast, simple and instant communication in virtual communication platforms, the availability of information of all kinds generated by many public and private organizations, groups and individuals, are, among others, factors that contribute to promoting a series of aspects that are at the root of so-called citizen participation. Participation is extensively and mainly studied by a set of the social sciences headed by Sociology and Political Science. Yet, in spite of its increasing importance, especially over the last three decades, Networks for Citizen Participation (CP-Network) has been ignored by most academic disciplines. In one form or another CP or CP-Network, has changed the discourse of the role of the citizen in modern society and has stirred up many of the traditional forms of social and political representation and intervention. At the same time, it has deployed a new range of activities that are still in full ”adolescence”.

Some of the most notable consequences of these changes are:

.- The call for greater transparency in political activity through the use of bi-directional informational technologies.

.- The social pressure that is exerted through social media supported by bi-directional virtual communication platforms.

.- The real possibility of actively intervening in decision-making processes using these technologies.

.- Public support for controversial political measures that affect, directly or indirectly, citizens’ welfare.

.- The emergence of new areas of participation that, either because of their complexity or the resources they needed, simply did not really arise before the Internet.

In this context, the CP-Network has been running in different ways:

– Frequently, processes of this type have been undertaken by the pressure of demands not always clearly formulated,

– Multiple experiences have been generated and different technological resources have been used in different ways,

– Knowledge, tools and arguments have been applied but not always in a way that is relevant to the technological contexts,

– or transpositions were forced between radically different contexts.

Therefore, the results obtained were not usually the expected ones, either by their promoters or by citizens. And, in addition, assessment of these results could hardly be attributed in most cases to so-called «CP-Network«.


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