‘Mind the Gap’: e-Government and e-Democracy
It is claimed that Internet technology offers governments the opportunity to engage citizens online and bridge the growing gap between citizens and the state. In the current climate of citizen disengagement this is a potentially important prospect. Academic studies into e-government tend to follow a well-trodden path of technology acceptance, citizens’ willingness and ability to use public services online and the digital divide. Where issues of e-democracy are considered, studies generally highlight opportunities rather than measuring any actual changes in citizen behaviour. This study examines citizens’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviour, seeking specifically to expose whether citizens feel that e-government enhances democratic participation and brings them closer to government and the machinery of the state. In this paper we present the results of the pilot study which suggest that citizens perceive some moderate value in using e-government as a means of keeping themselves informed and communicating with the state, but little value in e-government as a tool of democratic participation.
KeywordsPublic Service Public Participation Democratic Participation Usage Intensity Political Dialogue
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