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Ranch State and CitizenSpace: Digital Democracy and Web Strategies for the United States and the United Kingdom
Unformatted Document Text:  3 More importantly, does this new shift in ICT strategy represent a change in governmental attitudes towards civic participation in the formation and conduct of foreign policy? The crystallization of online strategy by the U.S. State Department should be viewed as an example of how a government views the proper usage of ICT in relationship to governance. The recognized importance of ICTs on foreign policy, coupled with prevailing attitudes towards the utilization of technology by governments, should shed some light on how technology may or may not represent a change in the process of governance of foreign policy. To begin to grasp the relationship of digital democracy and foreign affairs at the nation- state level, this paper raises the following questions: Does the web presence of national foreign policy organizations represent any advance in the notion of digital democracy? Second, does the website, as microcosm, represent the future of the organizational mission or strategy of nation- state’s foreign affairs department? The question of whether if content and functionality of this type of Web presence represents any change in the paradigm of existing political relationships (such as the relationship between citizens and policy-makers) is important, although it is beyond the scope of this paper and merits further empirical investigation. To accomplish these goals, this paper will provide an overview of both the notion of digital democracy as well as a snapshot of the “state of relations” between public opinion and foreign policy formation, followed by an overview of the institutional tendencies of both the United States and the United Kingdom in constructing governmental online presence and an analysis of the content and functionality of the U.S. Department of State and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) web sites. This paper will compare the web presence of these two countries in order to get a better understanding of how different interpretations for the role of the Internet and governance are taking shape in Web presence policy, and offer an assessment for how ICTs intervene in foreign policy contexts outside of government-sponsored technology policy.

Authors: Hayden, Craig.
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More importantly, does this new shift in ICT strategy represent a change in governmental
attitudes towards civic participation in the formation and conduct of foreign policy?
The crystallization of online strategy by the U.S. State Department should be viewed as
an example of how a government views the proper usage of ICT in relationship to governance.
The recognized importance of ICTs on foreign policy, coupled with prevailing attitudes towards
the utilization of technology by governments, should shed some light on how technology may or
may not represent a change in the process of governance of foreign policy.
To begin to grasp the relationship of digital democracy and foreign affairs at the nation-
state level, this paper raises the following questions: Does the web presence of national foreign
policy organizations represent any advance in the notion of digital democracy? Second, does the
website, as microcosm, represent the future of the organizational mission or strategy of nation-
state’s foreign affairs department? The question of whether if content and functionality of this
type of Web presence represents any change in the paradigm of existing political relationships
(such as the relationship between citizens and policy-makers) is important, although it is beyond
the scope of this paper and merits further empirical investigation.
To accomplish these goals, this paper will provide an overview of both the notion of
digital democracy as well as a snapshot of the “state of relations” between public opinion and
foreign policy formation, followed by an overview of the institutional tendencies of both the
United States and the United Kingdom in constructing governmental online presence and an
analysis of the content and functionality of the U.S. Department of State and the U.K. Foreign
and Commonwealth Office (FCO) web sites. This paper will compare the web presence of these
two countries in order to get a better understanding of how different interpretations for the role of
the Internet and governance are taking shape in Web presence policy, and offer an assessment for
how ICTs intervene in foreign policy contexts outside of government-sponsored technology
policy.


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