Liquid democracy of the Internet age

stmm. 2020 (3): 167-177



PhD in Sociology, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Psychology, Institute of Sociology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Shovkovychna St., 12, Kyiv, 01021)

The rapid development of information and communication technologies and the permanent task of improving modern democracy have prompted the modern world public to search for ways, forms and mechanisms for attracting Internet technologies to solve problems of improving the modern democratization process. A critical analysis of the shortcomings of classical forms of democracy, namely direct democracy and representative democracy, has accumulated attempts by the creative Internet-community to search for new conceptual solutions of the perennial question of improving the democratic mechanism for the most complete consideration of the proposals, interests and opinions of each citizen when solving socially important problems both at the local and regional levels, as well as at the national level. The article presents a new concept of democracy by B. Ford. As conceived by its author and his followers, this concept is able to accommodate all the positive aspects and overcome all the shortcomings inherent in the classical forms of democracy. An important aspect of the presentation of this concept in the Ukrainian and Russian language discourse was the analysis of the terminological diversity that defines this phenomenon in modern scientific literature — flexible, moving, transparent, fluid, smooth, negotiable, liquid, fleeting, unstable, delegative, cloudy, self-organizing democracy etc., as well as the search for the most informative, given the social context, terminological definition of this concept in the Ukrainian and Russian language sociological scientific environment. The article analyzes the differences between the new form of democracy proposed by B. Ford and previously known delegative democracy. The need for such an analysis was due to fact, that in his early works B. Ford designated liquid democracy precisely as delegative, which entailed a certain scientific and terminological confusion in scientific discourse. The article discusses the features of a new form of democracy that are associated with the possibilities of using modern information and communication technologies and make liquid democracy an attractive element of the democratization process. The article also defines democratization potential of information and communication technologies.

Keywords: democracy, forms of democracy, the Internet, liquid democracy, delegative democracy, the democratization potential of ICT


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Received 10.05.2020