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Author Lev-on, Elazar
Title Web-based collaboration and the organization of democracy
book jacket
Descript 323 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-11, Section: A, page: 4169
Adviser: Bernard Manin
Thesis (Ph.D.)--New York University, 2005
I argue that a cluster of properties of internet communication contributes to the emergence of efficient solutions for a variety of large-scale collective action problems. These properties include a large user population, the reduction of transaction costs, efficient information flows, and the self-organization of web traffic into a small number of focal sites. Entrepreneurs and groups capitalize on these properties to create inexpensive platforms to organize the collaboration of large numbers of heterogeneously and non-heroically motivated agents
These new organizational capabilities enable efficient solutions to collective action problems in a variety of strategic settings. I analyze three distinct phenomena: the innovative uses of internet communication by social movement organizations; the production of reputation management systems to overcome trust problems; and the peer-production of order and other goods by virtual communities
I argue that these organizational capabilities generate new opportunities for a variety of previously 'latent' political players, and deepen the background conditions and the organization of political competition. Simultaneously, they function as a driver for the creation of collaborative platforms for large-scale voluntary cooperation
These developments challenge the validity of 'participationist' and 'contestationist' models of democracy, which are particularly manifest in the works of John Dewey and Joseph A. Schumpeter that I explore. These salient models of democracy present two fundamental positions about the institutionalization of the idea of self-government in contemporary social, political, and technological realities
Novel opportunities for organization, mobilization and intermediation challenge the Schumpeterian model, which focuses on competition among leaders as the emblematic feature of democracies. I claim that the Schumpeterian model of democracy fails to accommodate the new opportunities for large-scale collaboration in solving public problems, and the expansion of political competition. However, these new opportunities do not spontaneously generate the Deweyian model of self-government as a fully communicative and collaborative communal life; when agents favor interaction and organization with like-minded or similarly-situated, it is more likely that these opportunities result in fragmentation and 'advocacy explosion,' rather than in a 'great community.'
School code: 0146
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 66-11A
Subject Political Science, General
Information Science
Mass Communications
Alt Author New York University
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