Changing politics through digital networks : The role of ICTs in the formation of new social and political actors and actions.
5-6 October 2007
Political Science Faculty, University of Florence, Italy
Organized by :
Department of Political Science and Sociology (DISPO), University of Florence in collaboration with the Social Informatics Research Unit (SIRU) based in the Department of Sociology, University of York.
The debates regarding the Internet and politics have developed around one main preoccupation : the crisis of liberal democracy. From the institutional perspective, scholars have attempted to answer the question of whether the Internet could slow down the progressive decline in citizens’ engagement. This approach has characterized the debate in the United States . In Europe , scholars were concerned also about the decline of citizens’ trust in political institutions, which led to discussions about whether the Internet could enable closer relationships between governments, representative institutions, political actors and their constituencies. This approach, though rooted in a central concern about the future of democratic regimes, leaves little room for the exploration of whether and how the integration of ICTs in the daily life of people and organizations contributes to structural political processes and of the meaning of politics itself.
Concurrently, ICTs have been said to play an increasing role in the development of alternative political repertoires of action and campaigning, manifested through a variety of new and old social movements focused around life-style politics, global justice, culture jamming, environmental issues, new consumerism, and the like. The intense and creative use of the Internet made by these actors to communicate and organize mobilization around the world, may represent a good example of how the ICTs democratic potential can be best used. ICTs can be used to redistribute power in society and to increase citizens’ feeling and capacity of becoming significant actors – individually or collectively – in the political processes. However, this is an issue that is still unexplored and remains to be proven. Are ICTs actually contributing to the change in nature, and thus the structure, of political processes and power in society ? How are new social and political movements contributing to this transformation ? Are we seeing the emergence of the network state ?
The papers will form the basis of a proposed publication (possibly as a contribution to the Routledge series edited by Brian D. Loader). Selected authors may also be invited to submit a copy of their paper to the journal Information, Communication & Society for consideration.
The deadline for receipt of the abstracts is 17 April 2007. Abstracts, between 500-1000 words, together with an author biography, must be sent electronically to Brian D. Loader at firstname.lastname@example.org , to Davide Calenda at email@example.com and to Lorenzo Mosca at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deadline for receipt of full papers (not exceeding 7,000 words and with an abstract of up to 300 words) is 31 August 2007 .