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Ranch State and CitizenSpace: Digital Democracy and Web Strategies for the United States and the United Kingdom
Unformatted Document Text:  7 website purpose – entrepreneurial and participatory. The entrepreneurial website functionality was primarily associated with connecting citizens with public services and one-way communication of information. It uses the Internet to enhance the “production of outputs” delivered by the city to the citizens, rather than any “process of governmental decision.” The participatory functionality instead focused on process – and was related to the communitarian principles that are part of the social capital literature (Musso, et al, p. 6). The local government study focused on local governments because it assumed that at the “local level citizens most directly experience service provision and act as direct participants in the democratic process” (Musso, et al, p.2). Nevertheless, the majority of websites in their study did not provide some of the ideal notions of social-capital building that ICTs could theoretical foster in a digital democracy. If website-enabled participation (and concurrent technological capacity to do so) in government is best experienced at the local level – and this was found lacking – what sort of prospect for digital democracy exists at the national or international level? Foreign Policy and Civic Participation – the Role of Public Opinion If we are to assess any sort of ICT-enabled engagement of the citizenry in the foreign policy process, we must provide at least some understanding of how foreign policy is in part related to public opinion and the media in general. The concept of horizontal and vertical communication may be essential to digital democracy – but they have little traction traditionally in the formation of United States foreign policy in the 20 th century. Despite research into the “CNN Effect” (Strobel 1997, 2000; Mermin, 1997; Robinson, 1999) often described as the alteration or constraint of the foreign policy establishment by the proliferation of global media – little scholastic effort has been exerted to see if media exposure has somehow linked the public to foreign policy makers. Despite some theoretical assertions of domestic influence of foreign policy calculations, such as Putnam’s “two-level games” hypothesis (Putnam, 1990) – anecdotal and historical

Authors: Hayden, Craig.
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7
website purpose – entrepreneurial and participatory. The entrepreneurial website functionality
was primarily associated with connecting citizens with public services and one-way
communication of information. It uses the Internet to enhance the “production of outputs”
delivered by the city to the citizens, rather than any “process of governmental decision.” The
participatory functionality instead focused on process – and was related to the communitarian
principles that are part of the social capital literature (Musso, et al, p. 6).
The local government study focused on local governments because it assumed that at the
“local level citizens most directly experience service provision and act as direct participants in the
democratic process” (Musso, et al, p.2). Nevertheless, the majority of websites in their study did
not provide some of the ideal notions of social-capital building that ICTs could theoretical foster
in a digital democracy. If website-enabled participation (and concurrent technological capacity to
do so) in government is best experienced at the local level – and this was found lacking – what
sort of prospect for digital democracy exists at the national or international level?
Foreign Policy and Civic Participation – the Role of Public Opinion
If we are to assess any sort of ICT-enabled engagement of the citizenry in the foreign policy
process, we must provide at least some understanding of how foreign policy is in part related to
public opinion and the media in general. The concept of horizontal and vertical communication
may be essential to digital democracy – but they have little traction traditionally in the formation
of United States foreign policy in the 20
th
century. Despite research into the “CNN Effect”
(Strobel 1997, 2000; Mermin, 1997; Robinson, 1999) often described as the alteration or
constraint of the foreign policy establishment by the proliferation of global media – little
scholastic effort has been exerted to see if media exposure has somehow linked the public to
foreign policy makers.
Despite some theoretical assertions of domestic influence of foreign policy calculations,
such as Putnam’s “two-level games” hypothesis (Putnam, 1990) – anecdotal and historical


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