Blog Questions for Week 2–Democracy

Please respond to one of the following questions in your blog post for this week (due Thursday, June 13th by 5pm).  Your blog post should be on this page (our class website), and should be at least 250 words long.  Also, you do need to include at least one direct quote from one of the readings for this week (Schmitter, Sodaro/MJS ch. 7, Van Belle and Mash/VB ch. 10, or Weldes).  Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

  1. Think about the US in relation to Sodaro’s 4 faces of Democracy and his 3 basic principles (rule of law, inclusion and equality).  How does the US stack up?  Is it on the minimum or maximum side of the scale?  Are there any aspects in which the US appears to be off the scale entirely?
  2. What do you think about the relationship between regime change and technology?  Are Internet-based technologies inherently democratic or not?  Do Internet-technologies create opportunities for democratic activities or movements outside of the state system?  What current event is making you think about the relationship between politics and technology right now?
  3. In “A Head in the Polls” you watched a fictional election play out.  What did this election reveal to you about the Planet Earth society in FuturamaFuturama is generally seen as a satire or commentary on our current world, and in particular on the US, did this episode make you rethink your understanding of the US?  Did it make you rethink the US-as-a-democracy?  Please use an example from the episode in your answer.
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One Response to Blog Questions for Week 2–Democracy

  1. ambergg says:

    Technology and politics is such an interesting topic and so relevant in our world today. If we think about the essence of democracy, from what we have gathered through the readings, we know that the purposes of democracy are as such: 1. Enhance the quality of life and the dignity of the individual. 2. Ascertain and carry out the wishes of the community 3. Constrain power 4. Reduce social antagonisms. We also know that this is not possible for everyone around the world. With the expansion of technology however, it has enabled the power of this “techno-democracy”. It goes even beyond the idea of technological hardware and the internet. Today we have social media that acts as a medium for global political influence. I do think that Internet-based technologies are inherently democratic as it serves as a place for “free speech”, in a sense that opinion can be put out there, even if not allowed by international law. Once it is out there, it is out there. These internet-based technologies definitely create opportunities for democratic activities among societies who are otherwise trapped by their own country’s political regime. For example there was the uprising in Egypt in 2011. Social media technology through the use of Twitter and Facebook allowed massive mobilization of activists and citizens to rise up against the regime. The communication is almost instantaneous and brought about a movement outside of the state system and regime change. This technology allowed for people to ascertain the wishes of the community and constrain the abuse of power they felt was occurring in their government. A more current issue could be the riots in Turkey. It seems that social media technology has become the main hub for protests and I believe governments are starting to really understand that which could be the reason the Turkish government may or may not have blacked it out for a day. But I think that it goes even beyond citizen uprising. Technology is allowing the globe to view what is really going on in these countries and media is something that may be controlled but it can’t be stopped. Technology however is not the sole reason for these democratic movements, it is the people who utilize these technologies and create global awareness. Techno-democracy is a powerful tool. Soon, technology won’t just create opportunity for democratic transformation but be in a part of the democratic processes, as stated below.

    “Today’s exciting advances in communications technologies provide unprecedented opportunities for enhancing the citizenry’s abilities to transmit their wishes to their representatives directly and instantaneously. Telephone call-ins, fax transmissions, websites, e-mail, chat rooms, an similar devices open up the extraordinary possibility of creating a kind of high-tech semi-direct democracy within today’s representative polyarchies.”

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