DIGITAL DESIGNS IN CIVIC DISCOURSE: - A Theoretical Design Perspective



To improve quality of life, all communities must engage in civic discourse about issues of common concern, which may elicit divergent opinions particularly in liberal democracies. Appropriate forums with properly articulated and understood rules of engagement help organize  discussions and discourses and enable them to remain civil even when contending parties hold strong and disparate opinions. Over the past decade, digital technology has allowed citizenship engagement to substantially evolve, leading to a need to reevaluate the commonly understood rules of engagement in civic discourse. In addition, no clear set of guidelines exists on how to transfer the extant rules of civic discourse into the digital world. This paper provides a theory driven framework for the design of information system to conduct civic discourse. The paper draws on earlier works in the theory of communication action and the theory of structuration. It combines these two theories and outlines how they can be translated into an information system. Testable hypotheses are drawn. The paper concludes by outlining the contributions of this paper to the literature on digital civil discourse and proposes future areas of study.

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