Conference Topic: new media vs. nation states

nation states

I began to work on a paper for The 3rd International Conference on Conflict, Terrorism and Society at Kadir Has University, where I teach Online Reputation Management.

I believe that the participatory means that the new media tools have provided for the people are creating more and more demand for participatory democracy. This is quite a problem for nation states since the system is based on representative democracy and limited participation in the decision making process of the governments.

So, that’s quite an interesting topic to think about. I will let you know when I have more to say on this topic. For the moment, I can share the proposal with you:

Development in Internet technologies has changed the structure of mass communications fundamentally. The change from Web 1.0 (one-way communication) to Web 2.0 (two-way communication) has given the people (i.e. citizens) a very substantial power of communication: the ability to give immediate and qualitative feedback. This is to say that, in traditional communication mediums, including Web 1.0, the people were in a passive position as a listener and not talker. The owners of mediums and information channels were in an active position as talker and not listener.

The traditional dynamics of communications gave the power holders a great deal of possibility to contain the participation of the people to a limited context, which has been positioned as a state apparatus. This includes elections, the ballot box, bureaucratic application and objection processes, etc. For instance, the official institution’s telephone numbers and mailing addresses respond through a selective perception. Moreover, there is not much possibility to take your application a step further, if you get rejected… Consequently, the traditional one-way communication system was one of the key parameters for states to continue holding their power.

Web 2.0, in other words, two-way communication gave the people a great deal of space for contribution and participation in the decision-making process for matters that directly interests the public. Also, the new communications enabled people to communicate, organize and assemble very quickly. Now, people can have an affect on the public agenda of a country—and even globally.

If we look at the significant public movements all around the world, we can clearly see that the motivation behind a significant percentage of them is “the public demand for participation to decision-making process.” We think of 2003 Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, 2009 Iran’s Green Revolution, The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street in USA, Gezi Park Movement in Turkey and finally the Kiev Protests again in Ukraine as most striking examples as physical manifestation of thereof demand for participation, which was already transmitted through new media.

Thus, I would like to make an in-depth analysis of the relationship between the developments in new communications and rise of the demand for participatory democracy globally. I see this as one of the key drivers that will effect the future of the state and world politics. I think that majority of states around the world will evolve into participatory democracies that will encourage their citizens to participate in (and crowdsource) decision-making process of the state.

I see things that are not there--yet.