Engaging Citizens in Policy Making

Open Access book edited by Tiina Randma-Liiv and Veiko Lember: “Public administrations play a key role in the development of e-participation (Medaglia, 2012, p. 351), whether they are responsible for organizing and managing top-down online opportunities and other communication channels with which citizens can engage in the political arena or they partner up with bottom-up e-participation initiatives (Gil-Garcia, 2012; Welch and Feeney, 2014).

Following the knowledge gaps outlined above, this book will therefore focus on the ‘supply side’ of e-participation research (Krishnan et al., 2012). More specifically, the book will shed light on the national-, organizational- and individual-level context surrounding various e-participation initiatives. The demand side will be covered to some extent from the politico-administrative perspective in order to gauge how these issues are contextualized and dealt with by governments. While focusing on the ‘non-technical’ part of e-participation, this book does not limit itself to single-country case studies but intends to compare various administrative characteristics where e-participation initiatives are operating.

Furthermore, this book tries to avoid the normative trap usually associated with the theory and practice of participatory policy making. This means that it is not necessarily assumed that participation could or should be a feasible alternative to more hierarchical policy making or that more participation automatically equals more democracy or better policy or that the use of digital technology automatically leads to more meaningful participation. The normative bias present in e-participation research is a methodological challenge that must be acknowledged….(More)”.