PROMOTING DEMOCRACY IN THE DIGITAL PUBLIC SPHERE
Democratic debate has undergone a structural transformation due to the rise of the Internet, social media and online communities.
About this event
Democratic debate has undergone a structural transformation due to the rise of the Internet, social media and online communities. Scholars of political communication have sought to diagnose the threat these changes pose, but empirical evidence often makes it unclear exactly what response should be made to concerning practices. In this paper we argue that debates around the regulation of the public sphere can benefit from engaging more directly with democratic theory. Drawing on Jürgen Habermas’s “coffeehouse model,” we establish theoretical markers for desirable practice online and consider the conditions under which these ideals can be advanced. Focusing on the significance of both digital design and user behaviour, we suggest initiatives that can promote favoured democratic ideals, arguing for a more proactive as opposed to reactive response to trends online.
Dr Kate Dommett is Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on digital campaigning, political advertising, data and democracy. Dr Dommett recently served as Special Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technology. She was awarded the 2020 Richard Rose Prize by the Political Studies Association for an early-career scholar who has made a distinctive contribution to British politics. Her Book, The Reimagined Party was published in 2020.
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