The non-government and voluntary sector, ICT, and democracy - introduction to the special issue

Karin Hansson, Frank Bannister


Online tools make large scale organisation of volunteer activities easier at the same time as the public sphere is becoming more difficult to navigate, demanding an ever higher level of digital literacy of those who want to participate. NGOs play an important role in creating and maintaining alternative public spheres by providing not only infrastructure, but by accommodating people’s need to belong, for recognition and for places to meet.
This special issue contains contributions from research that examines, in different ways, how the voluntary sector uses ICT to support both internally, its democratic structures, and externally, democracy in the community. The authors represented in this issue come from a variety of disciplines such as computer science, economics, political science and informatics, and the studies they present come from four different continents covering the use of online phenomena such as crowdsourcing, community journalism, blogging and social media.

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Hellström, Johan. 2015. “Crowdsourcing as a tool for Political Participation? – The case of UgandaWatch”. International Journal of Public Information Systems. Vol. 2015:1.

Senne, Fabio and Alexandre Barbosa. 2015. “ICT in Brazilian non-profit organizations − Capability approach-based indicators in organizational settings.” International Journal of Public Information Systems. Vol. 2015:1.

Johannessen, Marius Rohde. 2015. “New vs. “old” media – A case study of political protest groups’ media use in a Norwegian municipality.” International Journal of Public Information Systems. Vol. 2015:1.

Rakesh, Supriya. 2015. “Representation of social actors in the participatory journalism process – A case from India.” International Journal of Public Information Systems. Vol. 2015:1.

Hansson, Karin. 2015. Accommodating differences: Power, belonging, and representation online. PhD thesis at Stockholm University, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.

Hansson, Lisa and Elin Wihlborg. 2015. “Constructing an active citizen on-line – A case study of blogs of medical histories in public health care in Sweden.” International Journal of Public Information Systems. Vol. 2015:1.

Bellamy, Christine. 2000. “Modelling Electronic Democracy, Towards Democratic Discourses for an Information Age.” In Democratic Governance and New Technology : Technologically Mediated Innovations in Political Practice in Western Europe, eds. Jens Hoff, Ivan Horrocks, and Pieter Tops. London: Routledge, 33–54.

Dahlberg, Lincoln. 2011. “Re-Constructing Digital Democracy: An Outline of Four ‘Positions.’” New Media & Society (February).

Fraser, Nancy. 1990. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” Social text 26(25/26): 56–80.

Päivärinta, Tero, and Øystein Sæbø. 2006. “Models of E-Democracy.” Communications of the Association for Information Systems 17(1): 818–40.


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