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Digital Democracy


Gilardi, Fabrizio; Trechsel, Alexander H (2023). Digital Democracy. In: Emmenegger, Patrick; Fossati, Flavia; Häusermann, Silja; Papadopoulos, Yannis; Sciarini, Pascal; Vatter, Adrian. The Oxford Handbook of Swiss Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 430-448.

Abstract

The Swiss political system offers researchers in the social sciences a most fruitful context for theoretical and empirical advances in the field of digital democracy. The rich set of political institutions, characterized by a strong interplay of representative and participatory forms of democracy at different levels of the federal state, the multitude of organized political actors, a politically active citizenry, and the widespread use of Internet-based technologies throughout society have led to innovative experimentation with online instruments and processes as well as internationally relevant research. The point of departure arguably lies with Switzerland’s early attempts at introducing Internet voting in referendum votes, followed by election-targeting tools to improve the match between voters and candidates in the form of Voting Advice Applications. With the more recent proliferation of social media and the profound changes in the field of political communication, new research agendas tackle issues such as misinformation, online mobilization, campaigning, and old and new media consumption. Research on digital democracy now makes use of big data, to which constantly evolving methods of computational social sciences can be fruitfully applied. This chapter offers an overview of past and current research efforts in the areas of political communication, elections, and participatory democracy in Switzerland. It also shows how the data-rich Swiss context can inform comparative research, concluding with an outlook of opportunities and challenges that political science faces in the digital era.

Abstract

The Swiss political system offers researchers in the social sciences a most fruitful context for theoretical and empirical advances in the field of digital democracy. The rich set of political institutions, characterized by a strong interplay of representative and participatory forms of democracy at different levels of the federal state, the multitude of organized political actors, a politically active citizenry, and the widespread use of Internet-based technologies throughout society have led to innovative experimentation with online instruments and processes as well as internationally relevant research. The point of departure arguably lies with Switzerland’s early attempts at introducing Internet voting in referendum votes, followed by election-targeting tools to improve the match between voters and candidates in the form of Voting Advice Applications. With the more recent proliferation of social media and the profound changes in the field of political communication, new research agendas tackle issues such as misinformation, online mobilization, campaigning, and old and new media consumption. Research on digital democracy now makes use of big data, to which constantly evolving methods of computational social sciences can be fruitfully applied. This chapter offers an overview of past and current research efforts in the areas of political communication, elections, and participatory democracy in Switzerland. It also shows how the data-rich Swiss context can inform comparative research, concluding with an outlook of opportunities and challenges that political science faces in the digital era.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:18 December 2023
Deposited On:03 Jan 2024 10:06
Last Modified:07 Mar 2024 04:50
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Series Name:Oxford Handbooks
ISBN:9780192871787
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780192871787.013.22