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Produsage: Politics

g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms' Length from Government (EDEM 2010)

Axel Bruns and Adam Swift. "g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms' Length from Government." Paper presented at EDEM 2010, Krems, Austria, 6 May 2010.

The recognition that Web 2.0 applications and social media sites will strengthen and improve interaction between governments and citizens has resulted in a global push into new e-democracy or Government 2.0 spaces. These typically follow government-to-citizen (g2c) or citizen-to-citizen (c2c) models, but both these approaches are problematic: g2c is often concerned more with service delivery to citizens as clients, or exists to make a show of 'listening to the public' rather than to genuinely source citizen ideas for government policy, while c2c often takes place without direct government participation and therefore cannot ensure that the outcomes of citizen deliberations are accepted into the government policy-making process. Building on recent examples of Australian Government 2.0 initiatives, we suggest a new approach based on government support for citizen-to-citizen engagement, or g4c2c, as a workable compromise, and suggest that public service broadcasters should play a key role in facilitating this model of citizen engagement.

Produsage and Politics: Another Article in German

Hot on the heels of the new book chapter that I mentioned in my previous post comes another chapter (though technically this one was indeed published in 2009, while the previous one has been pre-dated to 2010 - such are the mysteries of academic publishing). And this chapter is another one of my German-language articles, too, this time on produsage (or Produtzung) and its implications for politics and political organisations - which may also make it a useful companion piece to my recent interview for Polar Magazin.

Soziale Netze in der digitalen WeltThe book, Soziale Netze in der digitalen Welt, edited by Christoph Bieber, Martin Eifert, Thomas Groß, and Jörn Lamla, follows on from a conference in Gießen at which I presented in 2008, but my contribution, "Produtzung: Von medialer zu politischer Partizipation", takes a considerably longer view of potential developments in political participation than the more strongly citizen journalism-focussed paper at the conference itself; it explores similar ideas to my 2008 journal article for Information Polity, in fact.

Produsage and Democracy in German(y)

Looking back, my stay at the Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg during May and June this year was exceptionally productive. In addition to the various conferences at which I presented, I also conducted a range of interviews with German media - and the latest of these, for Polar, the voluminous twice-annual magazine for political philosophy and culture, has now been published. I was interviewed for the magazine by Jan Engelmann of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is aligned with the German Greens party.

Here's an extended version of the interview, slightly longer than what was published in Polar. It's in German, of course - try Google Translate for a rough translation to other languages?

"In der Open-Source-Demokratie wartet man keine Einladung ab"

Bloß zuschauen war gestern. Im Web 2.0 entwickeln Leute gemeinsam freie Software, redigieren Texte in Wikipedia oder beraten auf Blogs die Sicherheitslücken von Windows. Könnte diese Beteiligungslust auch der Politik zugute kommen? Ja, wenn man die Philosophie der Netzkulturen ernst nimmt und schrittweise in das institutionelle System integriert, sagt der in Australien arbeitende Medienforscher Axel Bruns in einem E-Mail-Interview mit Jan Engelmann.

Citizen Consultation from Above and Below: The Australian Perspective (EDEM 2009)

Axel Bruns and Jason Wilson. "Citizen Consultation from Above and Below: The Australian Perspective." Paper presented at EDEM 2009, Vienna, 7-8 Sep. 2009.

In Australia, a range of Federal Government services have been provided online for some time, but direct, online citizen consultation and involvement in processes of governance is relatively new. Moves towards more extensive citizen involvement in legislative processes are now being driven in a "top-down" fashion by government agencies, or in a "bottom-up" manner by individuals and third-sector organisations. This chapter focusses on one example from each of these categories, as well as discussing the presence of individual politicians in online social networking spaces. It argues that only a combination of these approaches can achieve effective consultation between citizens and policymakers. Existing at a remove from government sites and the frameworks for public communication which govern them, bottom-up consultation tools may provide a better chance for functioning, self-organising user communities to emerge, but they are also more easily ignored by governments not directly involved in their running. Top-down consultation tools, on the other hand, may seem to provide a more direct line of communication to relevant government officials, but for that reason are also more likely to be swamped by users who wish simply to register their dissent rather than engage in discussion. The challenge for governments, politicians, and user communities alike is to develop spaces in which productive and undisrupted exchanges between citizens and policymakers can take place.

Blogs und Bürgerjournalismus: öffentliches Nachrichtenforum oder Startpunkt für neue politische Bewegungen? (ZMI 2008)

Axel Bruns. "Blogs und Bürgerjournalismus: öffentliches Nachrichtenforum oder Startpunkt für neue politische Bewegungen?" Keynote at the conference "Das Internet zwischen egalitärer Teilhabe und ökonomischer Vermachtung", Zentrum für Medien und Interaktivität, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, 24 Oct. 2008.

Blogs, die sich mit politischen Ereignissen befassen, werden zumeist als neue, von Bürgern in Selbstverantwortung betriebene Alternativen zum traditionellen Journalismus dargestellt. Internetnutzer aktieren hier nicht mehr allein in einer Rolle als Informationsabrufer, sondern beteiligen sich in mehr oder weniger großem Umfang als Produzenten von Inhalten - insgesamt also in einer Mischrolle, die als 'Produtzer' (engl. produser) umschrieben werden kann.

From Production to Produsage: Book of the Week (II)

As I mentioned the other day, Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage was chosen as book of the week on the P2P Foundation Website, and Michel Bauwens has kindly posted a few excerpts from the book on the P2P Foundation blog. The last two of these are now up, and I've also reposted the entire series here on this site - please feel free to leave comments here or discuss them over at the P2P Foundation Ning site.

Reading Sample 4 - Produsage and Democracy

Below is the final of four reading samples from Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. These samples were first published as part of a series on the P2P Foundation Website, where the book was honoured as Book of the Week.

In this series:

4 - Produsage and Democracy

A crucial step in the advance towards a more participatory, active, monitorial form of citizenship is the embedding of such practices into everyday life, and blogging and other forms of participation in continuing, produsage-based, deliberative models for discussing and debating the news provide a useful model. As Jenkins points out, this is a question of moving beyond participation in political processes only in the lead-up to elections and in the context of major political issues; "the next step is to think of democratic citizenship as a lifestyle." [1] This does not necessarily provide an argument against the necessarily limited issue-based action coalitions we have discussed already, however; instead, it encourages citizens to participate in a variety of such coalitions, to join a number of the communities of political produsers whose interests and concerns match their own. Much as elsewhere in produsage, to do so will give rise to loose and fluid heterarchies of participation, and ad hoc alliances organizing specific actions and coordinating the development and evaluation of new policy initiatives.

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