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How inclusive is digital activism?


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Fighting for your fundamental rights online and offline. How inclusive is digital activism?La lluita pels teus drets bsics online i offline. Com s dinclusiu lactivisme digital?La lucha por tus derechos bsicos online y offline. Cun inclusivo es el activismo digital?

Alina stling@AlinaOstlingconference / conferencia / conferncia:1HOW INCLUSIVE IS DIGITAL ACTIVISM? Alina stling

My presentation about inclusiveness of digital activismWhat I am presenting was part of my PhD thesis that I just defended.

When I started my research, I realised that most e-participation projects claimed to promote democracy.Most of them were also APPLYING SELF-SELECTION OF participants, meaning that OPEN FOR ALL

Got CURIOUS of who actually participated in these projects.

2My researchOnline user surveys:my ownEscher (2011), Whyte et al. (2005)strm & Sedelius (2010)

3Geographic coverageSwedenUKFranceItaly

NSParliamentary monitoringe-petitionLocal/national projects2 types

Local level e-pet

National level PM5Example of a PM project

This is what a PM project actually looks like. On the Italian platform, OP, you can:monitor an MP or a topic, e.g. migrationdiscuss legislative act with other users, or vote in favor or against laws discussed in the Parliament6Inclusiveness?Women:16-34 % parliamentary monitoring 35-38% e-petitioning

29% average of women7Inclusiveness?Lower-educated: ~20 % fewer

Inclusiveness?Age:high average: ~45under-25: consistently underrepresented

Inclusiveness?Persons with disability:Generally underrepresented, esp. in e-petitioning

10Experience & skills Already politically activeAdvanced digital skills more than their co-nationals

Blog, upload videos, post in forums, rate, SN11In sum Reinforcement thesis: empowering the already empoweredLess inclusive than other, offline, forms contact media or politicians, demonstrate (Eurostat, ESS)What was revealing for me12On the bright sideStimulus for learning & deeper engagementThose who DO engage:Better understanding of politics (up to 80%)More interested (up to 78%)SAY (self-perception)


deepen engagement of the already involved

13On the bright sideStimulus to participation40-50% never engaged online beforeUp to 98% are more prone to participate in the future

never contacted politicians, posted in online forums or demonstrated before

14ConclusionThe hype about participation for all and direct democracy is overDigital activism projects are not quick fixes, but complex processes of social change Hype of everyone's involvementDirect democracyBUT15Digital activism is:An opportunity: to revive citizens trust in political institutions; now very low (Rosanvallon 2008; Morlino 2009; Eurobarometer 2012)offering alternative means of participation

A threat: if equality is not addressed, an elite will dominate also online politics

especially now, when citizens trust in political institutions shows a striking decrease (Rosanvallon 2008; Morlino 2009; Eurobarometer 2012)

People seek alternative means of participation, now that traditional forms like voting is less appealing 16Thank you!alina.ostling@eui.eu



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