Barack Obama won the US Election following a campaign in which the digital technologies of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were key elements. In doing so, he set new limits on the use of such technologies for political campaigning.
However, most problems faced by party candidates, once in office, are not as straightforward as election campaigning. They face the difficult tasks of developing and scrutinizing complex policies. Such policies range from addressing local questions such as “How do we tackle road traffic congestion?” to national, and global issues, such as “What do we do about climate change?”.
Participatory policy development around such issues needs to engage a range of actors in rational discussion to construct and deliberate on the complex policy options. This is typically achieved through a range of processes which, traditionally, include the provision of experts’ reports and stakeholder consultations. The development, uptake and use of new digital technologies raises the interesting question “To what extent can, or indeed should, we make use of the technologies to assist in the collaborative development of government policies?”
This is the first in a series of anniversary lectures celebrating 21 years of the Science and Technology Studies Unit.
The second lecture in the series is: