Redefining Democracy: The Role of Technology in Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice
My paper has three fundamental moments. From a theoretical point of view, I want to deconstruct the concept of 'democracy' and expose its several meanings. I argue that the future of a global community, which is based on increasing shareness of knowledge, information and technology, depends on the clarification of the crucial concept of democracy and exposure of hidden assumptions. Once this is done, I advance my second moment, where I delineate some of the necessary conditions to get closer to the democratic premises of equality and respect. Having the structure and functioning of contemporary mass media, on the one hand, and the concept of the 'public sphere' as guidance, on the other, I argue that actual democracy depends on the creation of an alternative public sphere. This alternative space can and is being constructed via the maximization of new technologies of information and visual communication. In the third moment of my paper I explore a series of examples that support my theory.
Keywords: Democracy, Public Sphere, Individual Autonomy, Technology, Mass Media
Dr. Marta Nunes da Costa
Philosopher/ Researcher, New School for Social Research, Graduate Faculty