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Only Judging: The Volatility of Democratic Citizenship in the Era of Internet

Fri, September 1, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Hilton Union Square, Continental Parlor 9

Abstract

Today, important transformations are primed to occur in political practices from the widespread use of Internet, a system of communication and information with enormous potentials to change the mode of representation as it manages the distance between its social dynamic and its institutionalized forms even more radically than elections. In this paper I show how representation displays different conceptions of democracy, which I group into two broad families, one procedural in a traditional sense (minimalist) and one procedural in a deliberative sense. This parallel analysis brings me to argue that the idea of representation as a practice of informal participation (claim making in its complexity) and as a process that partakes in lawmaking (electorally based) leads us to disengage democracy from the dualism between “ideal” and “real” and adopt a pragmatic conception, in which the domain of procedures and institutions and the domain of opinion and partisan participation are thought jointly and unavoidably interconnected. Starting from this premise, in the final part of the paper I advance a critical assessment of the implications for democratic citizenship coming from a view and a practice of representation (facilitated by the Internet) that unjoins claim-making and decision-making, perhaps in the assumption that the former enriches democratic citizenship action while the latter constrains it instead. The title of the paper, “only” judging, is thus explained.

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