Data Visualization: An Untapped Potential for Political Participation and Civic Engagement

  • Samuel BohmanEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9265)


This article elaborates on the use of data visualization to promote a more informed and engaged participation in civic and democratic life. First, it outlines the main constraints and challenges in electronic participation research and concludes that the conventional deliberative approach to political participation has been impeding civic engagement. Then, through a couple of recent examples and a brief historical overview, it examines the power of data visualization. Following this, it explores the democratization of data visualization through four interconnected themes that provide new opportunities for political participation and civic engagement research: data storytelling, infographics, data physicalization, and the quantified self. The goal is to call attention to this space and encourage a larger community of researchers to explore the possibilities that data visualization can bring.


Data visualization Political participation Civic engagement Electronic democracy Electronic participation 



This research has received funding from The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) under grant agreement no. 2011-3313-20412-31.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer and Systems SciencesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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