Open Conference Systems, Catac 2016

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DEMOCRATIC AND AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES IN THE DIGITAL AGE: A TWISTED CURVE?
Michael Dahan, Mouli Bentman

Last modified: 2016-06-11

Abstract


In this paper we suggest a different approach to studying the impact of ICTs on the political – in both democratic and non-democratic states. We propose that these need to be examined on a sliding comparative scale, from authoritarian regimes to advanced liberal democracies. By creating a key that can help identify and isolate the positive and negative impact of these technologies on democratic values we hope to show that to a certain extent, new surveillance/sousveillance technologies tend to help nurture the roots of democratic structures in authoritarian regimes or non liberal democracies, or at the very least support their potential while at the same time tend be problematic beyond a certain degree of development within established democracies. This suggests a “democratic curve” that enables us to better understand the relationship between technology and democracy without falling into the trap of technological determinism. A comparative approach, as we suggest in this exploratory and preliminary research, country and culture specific, should provide a greater depth of understanding regarding the impacts ICTs on both democratic and non-democratic structures and publics. 


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