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eConvention on the future of Europe: civil society and the use of the Internet in European decision-making processes

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  • Ja Political Science (General)
  • Pn1990 Broadcasting
  • Political Science


This article aims to critically assess claims that the Internet could facilitate the participation of civil society organisations in (European) policy-making processes. Participation is a much contested notion, strongly interlinked with power and the ability to change outcomes. While deliberation and consultation are put forward as ways to counter the crisis of representative democracy, they raise numerous questions at the same time. Civil society is a similarly contested notion, which prompts academics, as well as policy makers, to delineate the different spheres of influence. Thus, civil society cannot be conceived of as a single actor. It is comprised of very distinct organisations, employing different strategies to achieve different goals. By analysing the results of an indicative survey of civil society organisations active within the Convention on the Future of Europe, this article evaluates the constraining and enabling factors of this innovative policy-making approach from a civil society perspective, assesses the potential of the Internet to facilitate the process and addresses the issue of intra-movement tensions and differences.

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