The rapid development and the growing penetration of information and communication technologies (ICT) provide tremendous opportunities for a wide and cost effective application of the ideas of participative democracy and public participation in government decision and policy making. ICT can drive dramatic transformations in the quantity and quality of communication and interaction of government organizations with citizens, revitalizing and strengthening the modern representative democracy which currently faces big problems of reduced citizens’ trust and involvement.
This book deals with the application of these e-participation ideas in the special and ‘difficult’, and at the same time highly interesting, national context of Southern Europe and the Balkans. The first chapter provides an overview of e-participation concepts and practices whilst the following chapters analyse pilot applications of e-participation concepts in eight different Southern European and Balkan countries (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)). They cover both the ‘classical’ e-participation paradigm, based on official e-participation spaces created, operated and controlled by government organizations as well as emerging new e-participation paradigms including e-participation based on web 2.0 social media, and ‘scientific-level’ e-participation, based on opening government data to the scientific community.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies.
1. Introduction 2. Using Advanced Information Technologies for Increasing Public Participation in the Greek Parliament 3. Electronic Participation Pilots in the Western Balkans: Lessons from the Field 4. Constructing and implementing e-participation tools in the Emilia Romagna Region: Assemblages and Sense Making 5. Learning from e-Participation initiatives of regional and local level authorities in Greece and Spain 6. Using Participative GIS and e-Tools for Involving Citizens of Marmo Platano-Melandro Area in European Programming Activities 7. Participatory Policy Process Design: Lessons Learned from Three European Regions