The Internet and democratic local governance: The context of Britain
Karakaya Polat, Rabia
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This article seeks to explore the role of the Internet in enhancing democratic local governance. The article suggests that the unique role of elected local authorities is under threat both because of declining levels of citizen participation as well as the transformation of the structure of local government into a system of local governance. In this context, local government can use the Internet to enhance its relations with citizens and to protect its unique position in the broad governance structure. The Internet enables the local authorities to open new channels of participation and actively encourages citizens to use these channels to participate. However, the Internet is not being exploited to its full potential. Likewise, not all authorities are benefiting from the Internet to the same extent. The article suggests that there are variations between local authorities and attempts to explain this variation drawing on concepts from new institutional theory and empirical evidence collected at three local authorities in Britain.