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Reflexive technology for collaborative environments
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Public Information Systems, ISSN 1653-4360, Vol. 1, 11-28 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the field of e-democracy, what is mostly emphasized is the ability to create a neutral place for deliberative discussions and voting, where the view is that technology can enable a stronger democracy. Most important, focus is on the nation state, not on democracy on a global level. In a democracy initiative on a global scale one cannot only deal with the questions of what should be discussed and in what way. First of all the question about representation has to be answered: who the participants are that are part of democracy. In order to create technologies that support democracy initiatives at a global level, it is not enough to create methods to set the agenda and framework for discussion, but it is also important to have a well thought out idea about how those who participate will be selected and on what grounds. In a micro-global perspective, in the collaborative network, this is about creating incentives that support a democratic culture, an awareness of how to go about involving everyone in the conversation. With this in mind we have developed a discussion platform that uses a radical democracy as a benchmark. Based on democratic meeting techniques and social media and grounded in a participatory design process, basic principles for a groupware are formulated containing typical democratic features such as voting and discussion, but taking user activities and reactions into account and clarifying the individual’s activities in relation to the group. The result of the design process is a Wiki-like prototype where the participants’ reputations are measured and transformed through a dynamic voting process. This can clarify the representativeness of the discussion at stake, showing whose positions and interests are put forward, providing a method for measuring the quality of online discussion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 1, 11-28 p.
Keyword [en]
E-Participation, Meeting techniques, Diversity, Collaboration online
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86108OAI: diva2:586178
Available from: 2013-01-11 Created: 2013-01-11 Last updated: 2015-01-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Accommodating differences: Power, belonging, and representation online
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Accommodating differences: Power, belonging, and representation online
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How can political participatory processes online be understood in the dynamic, conflicted and highly mediated situations of contemporary society? What does democracy mean in a scenario where inequality and difference are the norms, and where people tend to abandon situations in which they and their interests are not recognized? How can we accommodate differences rather than consensus in a scenario where multiple networks of people are the starting point rather than a single community?

In this thesis, these questions are explored through an iterative process in two studies that have used or resulted in three prototypes and one art exhibition. The first study is of communication practices in a global interest community, which resulted in two prototypes: Actory, a groupware that takes differences rather than equality as the starting point for a collaborative tool, and The Affect Machine, a social network where differences are used as a relational capital. The second study is of communication practices in a local commonality where the art exhibition Performing the Common created a public space and involved participants. This resulted in Njaru, a collaborative tool with integrated decision support and visualization of representativeness.

In summary, these works depart from the notion of the importance of belonging for e-participation, where the individual can be seen as a participant in several performative states, more or less interconnected trans-local publics. Here the individuals’ participation in the local public sphere compete with their participation in other communities, and affect the conditions for local democracy. This thesis contributes to a deeper understanding of these processes, and discusses how differences in democratic participation can be managed with the help of ICT.

Abstract [sv]

Hur kan politiskt deltagande på Internet förstås, i de dynamiska, konfliktfyllda och medierade situationerna i dagens samhälle? Vad innebär demokrati i ett scenario där ojämlikhet och skillnad är normen och där människor tenderar att överge situationer där de själva och deras intressen inte erkänns? Hur kan vi hantera skillnader snarare än konsensus i ett scenario där flera nätverk av människor är utgångspunkten i stället för en enda gemenskap?

I denna avhandling har dessa frågor utforskas genom en iterativ process i två studier som har använt eller resulterat i tre prototyper och en konstutställning. Den första studien gäller kommunikationen i en global intressegemenskap vilket resulterade i två prototyper: Actory, som tar olikheter snarare än jämlikhet som utgångspunkt för ett samarbetsverktyg, och The Affect Machine, ett socialt nätverk där olikheter används som ett relationskapital. Den andra studien gäller kommunikationen i en lokal gemenskap där konstutställningen Föreställningar om det gemensamma skapat ett offentligt rum och engagerade deltagare. Resultatet resulterade bland annat i Njaru, ett samarbetsverktyg med integrerat beslutsstöd och visualisering av graden av representativitet i processen.

Sammanfattningsvis utgår dessa arbeten från en idé om vikten av tillhörighet för e-deltagande, där individen kan ses som en deltagare i flera performativa stater, mer eller mindre sammankopplade translokala målgrupper. Här konkurrerar individernas deltagande i den lokala offentligheten med deras deltagande i andra samhällen, och påverkar förutsättningarna för lokal demokrati. Denna avhandling bidrar till en djupare förståelse av dessa processer, och diskuterar hur skillnaderna i demokratiskt deltagande kan hanteras med hjälp av IKT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2014. 133 p.
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 15-004
e-participation, e-democracy, online identity, artistic research, visual method, participatory method, belonging, singularity, performative states
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108836 (URN)978-91-7649-084-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-20, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2011-3313-20412-31ICT - The Next Generation

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 8: Submitted.

Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2014-11-04 Last updated: 2015-03-03Bibliographically approved

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