Promise and perils of electronic public engagement
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There is currently a trend in democratic societies towards greater involvement of the public in the policy setting of official bodies. Numerous mechanisms have been developed to enable such involvement, ranging from traditional forms, such as the public meeting, to more novel forms, such as the consensus conference. This paper considers the use of modern technologies, particularly computer, or internet-based, as the structural basis of novel engagement mechanisms. To many sponsors of engagement exercises, such technologies appear to provide solutions to specific public engagement problems. In this paper, however, we argue that a number of potential perils also await those who would use these technologies. We conclude with a call for more research into the effectiveness of technology-based engagement mechanisms.
Science and Public Policy
Copyright 2004 Beech Tree Publishing. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.