About the project

Research project "Democracy in the Knowledge Society: Analysis of Challenges and Opportunities” (E-democracy)

During the last decades there has been much discussion both in Lithuania and in the Western world about the deepening problems of democracy such as diminishing voter turnout, increasing dissatisfaction with political institutions, transformation of politics into a political show. These problems raise the question of the effectiveness and the meaning of the traditional democratic mechanisms in the contemporary society and point to the need to look for new forms of communication between citizens and government, based on the creative use of the opportunities offered by the knowledge society.

The aim of the project is to identify the essential problems of the functioning of democracy in the knowledge society, to assess their scale, to identify the causes behind them and to propose effective solutions based on the new information and communication technologies.

Objectives of the project:

1. To examine the potential of electronic voting to increase the voter turnout, as well as to assess the possibility of introduction of electronic voting in Lithuania.
2. To assess the importance of ideologies for the successful functioning of democracy in the knowledge society and to define the causes of ideological weakness of Lithuanian political parties.
3. To develop an on-line voting assistance tool that would help citizens to identify their political attitudes on the most important issues in the country and to match them to the attitudes of the political parties and individual candidates running in the elections. Also, to evaluate the potential of this sort of tools to increase the chances of meaningful voting choices, as well as to increase voter activity in knowledge society.
4. To examine the potential of the computer-based analysis of the performance of Parliament members and to develop a tool for analysis of the activities of the Seimas members.
5. To identify prerequisites and determinants of public deliberations and to evaluate the potential and preconditions of the practical implementation of deliberative democracy.
6. To assess the functions of political satire, parody and irony in the contemporary society and their potential for a critical civic reflection.
7. To investigate and to assess the effectiveness, costs and risks of the proposed electronic tools for democracy, and, building on the investigations made during the project, to develop a model of a high-quality democracy in the knowledge society.

The project is implemented by three participant institutions: Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University (the responsible institution); Institute of Politics and Public Administration, Kaunas University of Technology; Mykolas Romeris University. The list of main participants consists of 19 researchers from various fields of science: political science, sociology, communication and informatics. There are also researchers from other Lithuanian universities (Vytautas Magnus University, ISM University of Management and Economics) and other countries (Estonia, Germany, Italy, USA) who take part in the project activities and events. The project involves students from Institute of International Relations and Political Science (Vilnius University), Faculty of Communication (Vilnius University), and Mykolas Romeris University. The leader of the project is dr. Aine Ramonaite.

The project is funded by by Lithuanian State Studies and Science Foundation priority trend "Citizens and Governance in the Knowledge Society".

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