Digital Technologies for Democratic Governance in Latin America
Opportunities and Risks
Edited by Anita Breuer, Yanina Welp
To Be Published October 30th 2013 by Routledge – 256 pages
This book is the first to comprehensively analyse the political and societal impacts of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in a region of the Global South. It evaluates under what conditions some Latin American governments and people have succeeded in taking up the opportunities related to the spread of ICTs, while others are confronted with the pessimist scenario of increased, digitally induced social and democratic cleavages.
Specifically, the book examines if and in how far the spread and use of new ICT affected central aims of democratic governance such as reducing socio-economic and gender inequality; strengthening citizen participation in political decision making; increasing the transparency of legislative processes; improving administrative processes; providing free access to government data and information; and expanding independent spaces of citizen communication. The country case and cross-country explore a range of bottom-up driven initiatives to reinforce democracy in the region.
While it was largely assumed that in catching up on the digital divide developing nations would simply emulate practices and structures of the Global North, this volume demonstrates that Latin American citizens and governments have come up with innovative digital solutions to the particular political problems related to the region’s historical legacy.
The book offers researchers and students an interdisciplinary approach to these issues by linking it to established theories of media and politics, political communication, political participation, and governance. Giving voice to researchers native to the region and with direct experience of the region, it uniquely brings together contributions from political scientists, researchers in communication studies and area studies specialists who have a solid record in political activism and international development co-operation.
1. Digital Trends in Latin American Politics (1990-2012) Anita Breuer and Yanina Welp Part 1: Implications for Socially Inclusive Development and Political Stability 2. A Latin Spring? Examining Digital Diffusion and Youth Bulges in Forecasting Political Change in Latin America Jacob Groshek 3. A Digital Sublime or Divide? The Impact of Information Communication Technology on the Poor in Latin America Jack Barry Part 2: Formal Political Actors and Institutional Approaches 4. South American Politics in the Information Age. A Study of Parliaments, Political Parties and MPs on the net Yanina Welp and Alejandra Marzuca 5. Technology Applied to Electoral Processes and Electronic Voting in the Experience of Latin-America José Thompson 6. Access to Information and Open Government Data in Latin America Silvana Fumega and Matias Scrollini 7. Social Change and Social Media: Incorporating Online Digital Tools into Activism in Latin America Summer Harlow Part 3: Digital Media and Civil Society: Activism, Monitoring, and Individual Participation 8. Social Change and Social Media: Incorporating Online Digital Tools into Activism in Latin America, Summer Harlow 9. Social movements, democratic participation and ICTs Sally Burch and Osvaldo de León 10. Online Political Participation: Slacktivism or Efficiency Increased Activism? Evidence from the Brazilian Ficha Limpa Campaign Anita Breuer and Bilal Farooq 11. The Role of Social Media in Reshaping Transnational Practices: Participating in the Argentine Elections 2011 from Abroad, Denise Senmartin 12. Claiming Citizenship: Web-based voice and digital media in socialist Cuba, Bert Hoffmann 13. ICTs for Democratic Governance in Latin America? Anita Breuer and Yanina Welp
Dr Anita Breuer is Senior Researcher at the German Development Institute, Bonn, Germany, where her research focuses on the role of the Internet and social media in democracy promotion.
Dr Yanina Welp is Regional Director for Latin America at the Centre for Research on Direct Democracy (C2D, University of Zurich) and Academic Program Manager of a Swiss doctoral program focused on Latin America at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland.