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 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.
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.
Table of Contents
1. Digital Trends in Latin American Politics (1990-2012) 2. A Latin Spring? Examining Digital Diffusion and Youth Bulges in Forecasting Political Change in Latin America 3. A Digital Sublime or Divide? The Impact of Information Communication Technology on the Poor in Latin America. 4. Designing Open Data Policies in Latin America 5. Some Notes on the Experiences with the Use of Technology and Electronic Voting in Latin America 6. South American Politics in the Information Age. A Study of Political Parties and MPs on the Net in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay 7. Crafting a new parliamentary dialogue sphere? The web and political communication in the current Venezuelan National Assembly 8. Social movements, democratic participation and ICTs 9. Social Change and Social Media: Incorporating Social Networking Sites into Activism in Latin America 10. Slacktivism or Efficiency-Increased Activism? Online Political Participation and the Brazilian Ficha Limpa Anti-Corruption Campaign 11. Social Media and Diaspora Activism: Participating in the Argentine Elections 2011 from Abroad 12. Claiming Citizenship: Web-based voice and digital media in socialist Cuba 13. Re-assessing ICT for democratic governance in Latin America (Editors’ conclusions)
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.
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.