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Thomas Zittel


The concept of electronic democracy has intellectual as well as technological roots. Its intellectual roots are anchored in normative democratic theory and in the idea of participatory democracy (→ Participatory Communication ). Technologically, it is rooted in dramatic changes in media technology that amount to a revolution in the field of communication (→ Communication Technology and Democracy ). The communications revolution is a process that spans a long period of time, encompassing a multitude of technological developments from the first telegraph wire connecting both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in 1862 through to the diffusion of the → Internet in the 1990s. This chain of technological breakthroughs amounts today to a media infrastructure that provides mind-boggling new opportunities in the field of communication (→ Information and Communication Technology, Development of ; Communication Infrastructure ). It opens up access to mass communication to every individual who cares to go public, it dramatically increases the volume of public communication, it allows for new formats of interactive communication such as many-to-many or one-to-few, and it provides for a global presence of any piece of information. As Nicholas Negroponte (1995) put it: on the net, every piece of information and every individual is just a mouse click away, independent of location. The communications ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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