Teoria politica – Call for paper

International Journal of Theory of Politics – Teoria politica

From Democracy In the Net to Democracy On the Net?

Over the decades a transformation process that is different according to location but essentially homogeneous has taken place. Regimes commonly considered to be democratic tend to develop non-democratic features. To express the nature of these regimes terms have been coined such as «post-democracy», «audience democracy», «electoral dictatorship», «elective autocracy», or «technocratic caesaropapism» to highlight a different direction that might be shaping the erosion of self-government. In this context, the sensational events of popular protests that have affected many areas of the globe, resulting in some cases, as in North Africa, in revolutions, in other cases setting mass dissent against decisions imposed from above, can be interpreted as strengthening and recovering of the democratic spirit. Beyond the obvious differences, all these movements are united in pursuing the goal, intensive and extensive use of ICTs. Could democracy trapped «in the net» of various degenerative processes pull itself out of it by going «on the net»? Internet seems to some scholars a suitable tool to promote new forms of participation and deliberation: Can horizontally «inter(net)connected» citizens avoid limitations and distortions of traditional political decision-making processes? Other scholars have pointed out that political action mediated by ICTs risk falling into new traps, not necessarily different from those in which democracy has fallen before: populist tendencies, inequality and exclusion (digital divide), manipulations and autocratic control. How you can prevent Internet from becoming another trap?

Teoria politica particularly welcomes papers on the following topics:

  • Analysis of the forms and uses making ICTs a channel of emancipation and democratic self-determination
  • Risk-analysis of ICTs furthering anti-democratic instances, including control of the Internet
  • Relationship between old and new media, and their impact on public opinion

Obedience & consent

Why do we obey another? What can be the reasons and lack thereof (irrational motives) behind obedience and disobedience? In today’s Western democracies attitudes of passive acquiescence live with slothful dissent, accompanied by a general distrust in institutions. Similar phenomena in other historical periods have been described as forms of «voluntary servitude» (La Boétie), or imposition of «mild despotism» (Tocqueville). Can apathy turn into a kind of active «anti-political» and populist degeneration? More generally, what is the relationship between democracy and consent? What is consent? How can you determine, measure, the difference between critical and uncritical consent, freely and manipulated, or extorted by threats and flattery, or the result of dreams and nightmares manufactured by the media, or simply bought? Which forms of consent underpin «audience democracy» (Manin)? What changes should be expected to consent in a shift from populist demagoguery to technocracy?

Teoria politica particularly welcomes papers on the following topics:

  • The multiple dimensions of the problem of obedience and consent in today’s political systems
  • Reasons and passions that strenghten and weaken obedience and consent
  • Formation and uses of obedience and consent in different historical settings
  • Consent given to the demagogue and obedience to the technocrat

The submisson procedure can be downloaded, in pdf format, in the next link

Deadline: November 15, 2012

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