Governance and democratic procedures in the Information Society Era.

Author:Bozinis, Athanasios I.


The term democracy has Greek origin and is defined as "The dominance of the people", (i.e. of the public). The most significant feature within a democratic constitution is that the majority rules, while the minority controls and imposes criticism on the majority. The majority protects the minority's rights, whereas, the latter accepts the political system and functions within its limits (1). The first shape of democracy is met in Ancient Athens between 500-321 B.C in the form of a country-state and had the pattern of direct democracy. Today, this model has been replaced by representative democracy through the election of representatives (2).

The classic model of democracy, which used to be dominant in ancient Athens, was mostly featured by the citizens' direct participation in the legislative function, better known as the assemblies (3). This was indeed the most powerful means of dominance during that time. Besides the assemblies, multiple elective methods were used for the public postulates, such as: instant election, voting, draw, selection (3).

In modern politics and governments, direct democracy - as the example of ancient Athens -has been replaced by the representative democracy. In particular, decision making concerning the whole of the country is not reached by the public, but is now reached by democratically elected representatives, who come from various parties via national elections. Current shapes of parties appear at the end of the 18th century in Great Britain, while the existence and function of political parties that secure the equity of opportunities is one of the most fundamental features of the pluralist democracy (4). Today's liberal-democratic systems are distinctive for the existence of more than one political party; the open access to political procedures and open participating activity (5). Liberal democracy is based on a historical tradition that is in favor of human rights, in favor of social welfare, of equity before the law and of the principle of national dominance (6). Open dialogue and exchange of views upon matters of policy is one of the most fundamental principles of the function of democracy.

Theoretical background: Nowadays, democracy is stable in many countries of the West, whereas governments appear to be ineffective and distant (7). The function of liberal democratic institutions in many countries depends on backstage agreements and customary affairs (8). The use of ICT within the social and informatics borders, which responds to the problems of modern democratic procedures regarding the boost of democratic procedures and the expansion of the democratic participation, resulted in two significant schools of thought. The primal scientific dispute focuses on the positive and negative consequences of the use and application of new information and communication technologies upon the political-democratic procedures. More analytically, in international bibliography we locate two basic tendencies of thought regarding the use of new technologies: Techno supporters and Techno skeptics (9).

As for those who are fond of technology (Techno supporters), the lower cost of communication and convention is due to decrease the cost of participation, since the citizens wish to do so and the Internet may give an end to the dominance of television and radio transmission that curtailed political parties and made the whole political procedure extremely costly, since it is necessary to get capitals arranged (10). To be more specific, people keen on the use of ICT on political procedures, regard that it is a basic mean, which is able to forward the width of participation in the common democratic procedure and the political procedures, during...

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