Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom

Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom

Shefali Virkar

Abstract

Over the last two decades, public confidence and trust in Government has declined visibly in several Western liberal democracies owing to a distinct lack of opportunities for citizen participation in political processes; and has instead given way instead to disillusionment with current political institutions, actors, and practices. The rise of the Internet as a global communications medium and the advent of digital platforms has opened up huge opportunities and raised new challenges for public institutions and agencies, with digital technology creating new forms of community; empowering citizens and reforming existing power structures in a way that has rendered obsolete or inappropriate many of the tools and processes of traditional democratic politics. Through an analysis of the No. 10 Downing Street ePetitions Initiative based in the United Kingdom, this article seeks to engage with issues related to the innovative use of network technology by Government to involve citizens in policy processes within existing democratic frameworks in order to improve administration, to reform democratic processes, and to renew citizen trust in institutions of governance. In particular, the work seeks to examine whether the application of the new Information and Communication Technologies to participatory democracy in the Government 2.0 era would eventually lead to radical transformations in government functioning, policymaking, and the body politic, or merely to modest, unspectacular political reform and to the emergence of technology-based, obsessive-compulsive pathologies and Internet-based trolling behaviours amongst individuals in society.

Full Text

Reference

Shefali Virkar (2014). Trolls Just Want to Have Fun: Electronic Aggression Within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom’, International Journal of E-Politics (Special Issue), Volume 5, Issue 4, pp. 20-50.