Democracy and the Internet: A Retrospective

Essay by Charles Ess at Javnost: “In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the emerging internet and World Wide Web inspired both popular and scholarly optimism that these new communication technologies would inevitably “democratise”—in local organisations, larger civic and political institutions, and, indeed, the world itself. The especially Habermas- and feminist-inspired notions of deliberative democracy in an electronic public sphere at work here are subsequently challenged, however, by both theoretical and empirical developments such as the Arab Winter and platform imperialism. Nonetheless, a range of other developments—from Edward Snowden to the emergence of virtue ethics and slow tech as increasingly central to the design of ICTs—argue that resistance in the name of democracy and emancipation is not futile….(More)”.