As civic life has entered the online space, new questions arise about the effectiveness of these new forms of participation in the political arena. However, in order to close the gap between citizens and states, civic tech organizations offer different models of participation: online voting, online local problem reporting, crowdsourcing bill drafting and online petitioning, among others.
Also, academic research focused on the question of who participates in the online civic space. Some of them argue that these new forms are an opportunity to improve participation, while others point out the uneven internet access between citizens and how that will distort civic participation.
This panel will examine the role of civic tech organizations in increasing, transforming or changing online participation and varied forms of engagement and conflict with state actors and institutions. Papers will examine the diverse world of the civic tech organizations, their tools and objectives, the forms of interaction between political and non-political actors, and the types of online participation that they allow. Papers will examine the roles of non-state actors in service delivery, public goods provision, and social change processes. Papers may focus on the online participants, their characteristics, and the ultimate impact on democracy.