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2020/2021  BA-BSOCV2012U  Digital Society B. Democracy and Policy-making in the New Digital Age

English Title
Digital Society B. Democracy and Policy-making in the New Digital Age

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Manuele Citi - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
1-2 guest lecturers will be invited
Main academic disciplines
  • Information technology
  • Innovation
  • Political leadership and public management
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 07-02-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The highest grade (12) is awarded when the following learning objectives are met by a student who:
  • displays the ability to identify and explain emerging societal challenges in traditional representative democracies using theories, models and concepts from the syllabus in a systematic manner;
  • is able to select, apply and master social innovation tools interactively and creatively;
  • demonstrates knowledge of how to design a participatory decision-making framework, applying digital technologies in an ethical and innovative way;
  • shows a critical understanding of the transition to Web 2.0. society and an ability to discuss and reflect on the impact of technological advancements on the relations between governments/institutions and citizens (social capital);
  • demonstrates an overall high level of command of the syllabus.
Course prerequisites
Basic background in at least two of the following fields: social, political and/or law studies.
Examination
Democracy and Policy-making in the New Digital Age:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 2-3
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
The size of the written assignment is up to 15 pages (2 students) or up to 20 pages (3 students) including the references. In case of an individual paper, the size must not exceed 10 pages. The exam is graded individually. The group must submit a declaration of contribution (up to 1 page) where the students clarify and describe which parts of the assignment they have contributed to.
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Re-take (if you were absent at the ordinary exam): Hand-in an addendum of 2-3 pages per student together with the original project.
Description of the exam procedure

 

The exam is a group project which involves analyzing one of the cases corresponding to the theoretical frameworks and specific topics presented in the course.

 

 

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Engagement of citizens in policy-making is certainly not a new theme: it has been practiced in the form of citizen juries and other bottom-up democratic procedures for decades. In spite of the predictions that Internet would change democratic process radically allowing for a more proactive role of citizens in politics, the potential of e-democracy, e-participation, online engagement and deliberation is far from being utilised to its full. Governments still struggle with a challenge of how to engage citizens in policy-making with the expected degree and quality of participation.

 

The aim of the course is to provide the students with a profound understanding of opportunities and challenges associated with the use of digital technologies and social innovation tools which are designed to augment digital social capital. After the successful completion of the course, the students will be able to apply relevant theories, models and concepts when analysing case studies related to digitalisation of policy-making processes. The purpose of the course is also to develop a critical perspective and evaluation of the impact of the digital revolution on democracy and policy-making.

 

Three main elements of the course would be:

1. Conceptual-theoretical framework: the emergent forms of democracy (participatory, deliberative, liquid to name a few) and social capital (digital social capital) facilitated by Web 2.0 technologies; 

2. Technical component would involve an assessment of benefits and limitations of using collective intelligence and artificial intelligence for policy-making, evaluating and comparing international participatory democracy platforms, their AI functions as well as the aggregation of input from citizens.

3. Critical sociological reflections.

The course will deal the following democratic values as criteria of successful e-participation: inclusion, equality, representation, representativeness, accountability, transparency and anonymity. 

 

The course is structured around the following main themes:

  1. Evolution of democracy in the digital era and the emergence of digital social capital;
  2. Practical implications of e-participation;
  3. Theoretical foundations of social innovation: sources, ideas, future directions
  4. Social innovation accelerators in practice: case-studies of social innovations and democratic policy-making;
  5. Citizen crowdsourcing in decision-making: concepts, ideas and applications. 
Description of the teaching methods
The teaching is based on lectures complemented by plenum discussions, team presentations of cases and in-class clickers (i.e. on menti.com), altogether designed to increase student performance, motivation and learning outcome. The teaching method is a fusion of face-to-face and online participation, using such tools as peer grade, team presentations and simulations.
In a virtual classroom, the students will experiment with e-voting, ideation and online deliberation in order to gain the first-hand experience of new forms of participation.
The groups will be asked to present mini-cases in the class in order to receive peer feedback from the discussants and well as to address the questions from the audience. The emphasis will be placed on active contribution. The teacher will summarize the discussion and go through the “muddiest points” when needed.

Apart from lecture slides, literature and presentations, which will be accessible on Canvas, the course will make use of open educational resources (OED). The philosophy of the course will be reflected in the collective intelligence approach based on a participatory Web culture of organized groups of students and teachers connected by the Internet working together to accomplish focused tasks in more effective and efficient ways.
Feedback during the teaching period
The groups will receive peer feedback from the teacher and students during the plenum discussions. Additionally, the teacher can be contacted by email or in person during the office hours upon prior agreement for the individual feedback.
Student workload
Lectures 36 hours
Preparation, exam 173 hours
Expected literature
  1. Chung, H., & Duggan, J. 2020. A Formal Theory of Democratic Deliberation. American Political Science Review, 114(1), 14-35. 
  2. Landemore, H. 2020. Open Democracy and Digital Technologies. Digital Technology and Democratic Theory, selected chapters.
  3. Lee, J. 2017. An Exploratory Study of E-Participation Technology Adoption by Citizens. In Routledge Handbook on Information Technology in Government, edited by Y.-C. Chen and M. Ahn, 284–300. New York: Routledge.
  4. Mandarano, L., Meenar, M., & Steins, C. 2010. Building Social Capital in the Digital Age of Civic Engagement. Journal of Planning Literature, 25(2), 123–135. 
  5. Mossberger, K., C. Tolbert, and R. McNeal. 2008. Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society and Participation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  6. Mulgan, G. 2019. Social Innovation: How Societies Find the Power to Change. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 
  7. Webler, T., and S. Tuler. 2000. Fairness and Competence in Citizen Participation: Theoretical Reflections from a Case Study. Administration and Society 32 (5): 566–595. 
  8. Welch, E. 2012. The Rise of Participatory Technologies in Government. In Transformational Government through Egov Practices: Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Technological Issues, edited by M. Shareef, N. Archer, Y. Dwivedi, A. Mishar, and S. Pandey, 347–367. Bingley: Emerald Publishers.
  9. Zheng, Y. 2017. Explaining Citizens’ E-Participation Usage: Functionality of E-Participation Applications. Administration & Society 49 (3): 423–442. 
Last updated on 07-02-2020