Volume 22, 2006
Science, Technology, and Social Justice
Carol C. Gould
Global Democratic Transformation and the Internet
This paper begins with two cases pertaining to the internet in an effort to identify some of the difficult normative issues and some of the new directions in using the Internet to facilitate democratic participation, particularly in transnational contexts. Can the Internet be used in ways that advance democracy globally both within nation-states that lack it and in newly transnational ways? Can it contribute to strengthening not only democratic procedures of majority rule, periodic elections, and representation, but also more substantive forms of deliberative democracy? And specifically, which directions are to be encouraged and on what normative basis? Or, instead, is the Internet to become ever more a means for facilitating commercial sales, corporate control, or government surveillance? This sort of normative account, while not addressing public policy questions directly, suggests a framework within which, I would argue, such policy questions can be helpfully considered.