Research event

Understanding discursive e-democracy through the everyday political talk online

A presentation by Yuri Misnikov (e-Government Center, ITMO). This event is part of the Digital Governance Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for Digital Governance.

Abstract: Recently, the advocates of a systemic turn in democratic deliberation have cast doubts on whether exercises in micro-deliberation, involving recruited mini-publics, are useful beyond experimental purposes. In this context, they attempt to envision how the scaled-up macro-deliberation might look like and what kind of relationship might exist between the deliberative system and media ecology. Another key question that is being increasingly asked in this regard is whether there is a potential for cross-public discourses to overcome the rising tide of group and ideological polarisation. However, surprisingly, the advances made in conceptualising mediated deliberation are not matched by an adequate arsenal of research instruments. This talk will present one potential research instrument to overcome this problem. This talk will demonstrate some initial perceived benefits of instrumentalising Habermas’ concept of validity claims (under his discourse ethics theory), especially the claims to normative rightness (type 2) that are validated via agreement or disagreement. Specific examples will be demonstrated to reveal the discursive aspect of morally and ethically grounded political discourses online among lay citizens, including the use of neural networks. It is expected that this proposed focus on discursively constructed public opinion could increase the acceptance of e-democracy by citizens.

Yuri Misnikov holds a PhD degree in New Media and Communications from the University of Leeds, UK. He is a visiting researcher at the e-Government Center of ITMO University and focuses on online deliberation, with a special emphasis on applying Jurgen Habermas' discourse ethics theory in democratic practice. He is a member of the programme committees of several leading e-governance academic conferences and has authored and co-authored publications on new media discourses; including receiving a best paper award. Yuri is a qualified expert in e-governance policy and practice, with 20 years of an internationally diverse and successful professional career. As a United Nations official, facilitated in early 2000s the development of a first generation of ICT-for Development / e-government policies in Central Eastern Europe and managed a project to establish the e-Governance Academy in Estonia, as a global knowledge transfer hub. He is an experienced evaluator of the EU ICT S&T/R&D projects and programmes, and has led a number of EU studies aimed at harmonizing digital markets in the Eastern Partnership countries. He teaches communication theories and mediated politics at the Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania.