Information Technology and Democratic Participation in Africa

Information Technology and Democratic Participation in Africa Information Technology and Democratic Participation in Africa WISDOM J. TETTEY ¤ ABSTRACT This paper assesses the nature of political communication and democratic participation in Africa to determine whether these technologies are changing the face of politics on the continent. It ana- lyzes who has access to the forums; topics that are discussed; what in uence these digital forums have on political decision making; and the extent to which they replicate or differ from the affective and emotive manifestations of political interaction in the “real” world. It concludes that a lot more people are getting a lot more information, but that this does not translate into a signiŽ cant expansion in the numbers and categories of those who engage in, and hence in uence, the direction of politics on the continent. Introduction At the beginning of the 1990s, a con uence of internal and external factors produced signiŽ cant conjunctures in the political landscape of Africa. The effects of these developments on democratic politics had not been seen since the early 1960s, when most post-colonial states encountered their Ž rst experiences with constitutional government (see Tettey 2001). Principal among these was a revival of democratic optimism, not only across http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Asian and African Studies (in 2002 continued as African and Asian Studies) Brill

Information Technology and Democratic Participation in Africa

Journal of Asian and African Studies (in 2002 continued as African and Asian Studies), Volume 36 (1): 133 – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2001 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0021-9096
eISSN
1568-5217
DOI
10.1163/156852101300143127
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Information Technology and Democratic Participation in Africa WISDOM J. TETTEY ¤ ABSTRACT This paper assesses the nature of political communication and democratic participation in Africa to determine whether these technologies are changing the face of politics on the continent. It ana- lyzes who has access to the forums; topics that are discussed; what in uence these digital forums have on political decision making; and the extent to which they replicate or differ from the affective and emotive manifestations of political interaction in the “real” world. It concludes that a lot more people are getting a lot more information, but that this does not translate into a signiŽ cant expansion in the numbers and categories of those who engage in, and hence in uence, the direction of politics on the continent. Introduction At the beginning of the 1990s, a con uence of internal and external factors produced signiŽ cant conjunctures in the political landscape of Africa. The effects of these developments on democratic politics had not been seen since the early 1960s, when most post-colonial states encountered their Ž rst experiences with constitutional government (see Tettey 2001). Principal among these was a revival of democratic optimism, not only across

Journal

Journal of Asian and African Studies (in 2002 continued as African and Asian Studies)Brill

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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