[Air-L] APSA IT and Politics book award

Wright Scott Dr (PSI) Scott.Wright at uea.ac.uk
Mon Sep 13 23:44:24 PDT 2010


Hi all, I thought I would let everyone know that the 2009 APSA award for the best book on IT and Politics went to Stephen Coleman and Jay Blumler for their (CUP) book: "The Internet and Democratic Citizenship".  I think the committee's endorsement provides a very useful summary of its qualities:

"With their book The Internet and Democratic Citizenship: Theory, Practice and Policy, Stephen Coleman and Jay Blumler present a welcome and very cogent antidote to the less than sober enthusiasm of early techno-optimists. They do so while retaining a well-informed and reasonable basis for “a more deliberative democracy” unencumbered by the “excessive” or “fetishised” demands of deliberative democracy as an “end in itself.” The case they make uncovers, for example, the “autonomous, casual, and unstructured” discourse that is constitutive of much informal and yet authentic democratic practice.
The book, which would make a wonderful addition to any class on e-governance, draws on an enormous literature of democratic theory, research and practice. It makes a fluent and elegant case for taking a range of online “public talk” more seriously. The distinguished authors retain a normative bent. And they call for concrete government policy and resources in support of sustaining and improving the function of the electronic public sphere as an extension of actual, results-producing democratic policy making. Coleman and Blumler are exhaustive, careful and probing when they examine the trade-offs presented by different dimensions of online deliberative behavior. The authors pay tribute to, and take seriously, a deliberative spirit in their own scholarly reflections.

The book, which would make a wonderful addition to any class on e-governance, draws on an enormous literature of democratic theory, research and practice. It makes a fluent and elegant case for taking a range of online “public talk” more seriously. The distinguished authors retain a normative bent. And they call for concrete government policy and resources in support of sustaining and improving the function of the electronic public sphere as an extension of actual, results-producing democratic policy making. Coleman and Blumler are exhaustive, careful and probing when they examine the trade-offs presented by different dimensions of online deliberative behavior. The authors pay tribute to, and take seriously, a deliberative spirit in their own scholarly reflections. [...]

The committee selected this book in recognition of the skillful and integrative manner in which Coleman and Blumler make the case for actively “shaping e-democracy” from above and below. Their cautious optimism is infectious because it is well informed and sustained by less well- known but important cases. Even a jaded scholar of the anti-deliberative mindset might want to rethink his or her position on the future of the Internet and democratic citizenship after reading this book."

Many congratulations to them both for this well deserved award.

Cheers,

Scott




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