Political theory 2.0

[Summary: Yes, it’s time for another 2.0 titled workshop idea. Political theory at BarCampUKGovWeb09 this time]

In a couple of weeks I’ll be heading along to BarCampUKGovWeb09 (you can find my blogging from 08 here) and amongst lots of talking about young people, the web, social network sites and positive activity information I’m hoping to host a session that take’s a step back, strokes it’s beard and get’s a bit philosophical.

But of course, in true social media style, the title includes the ever-used 2.0 designation. Here’s the pitch from the BarCampUKGovWeb09 Ning:

Political Theory 2.0

People have been thinking about government and democracy for thousands of years. But what does all the theorizing from Plato through to Hobbes, Rousseau and Rawls mean when we’re living in a digital world?

Can political theory offer us a framework for better understanding e-democracy and engagement initiatives? What sort of democracy are we building?

This would be a session to workshop an e-democracy/engagement/government initiative with a bit of political philosophy – so either bring your favorite e-project ideas along, or your favorite political theorist and we’ll explore what they have to say to each other…

I’ve already had some great conversations with Paul Evans in working up the session idea – and he has kicked of the discussion with some ideas of what major political theorists might think of today’s e-democracy world:

– Machiavelli would probably have advised his Prince against blogging (but would have told him to lurk and listen)

– Hobbes would probably have said that Machiavelli had a point

– John Stuart Mill would have wanted to see your qualifications before he read your comments

– Tom Paine would have wanted you to be elected before you had any influence

– Edmund Burke would have wanted to be assured that pressure groups had no ability to do anything apart from provide evidence that the elected representatives could sort through

– Schumpeter would have annoyed absolutely everyone in the e-democracy sphere

I’m inclined to think many political theorists might be able to offer us constructive as well as critical points – and I’m really looking forward to taking this exploration further.

If you’re interesting in this exploration too, and you are going to be at BarCampUKGovWeb09 (and even if you’re not…) then join us in planning for the session on the BarCamp network.

2 thoughts on “Political theory 2.0”

  1. Surely Machiavelli would have encouraged more than lurking and listening? Maybe some dark art of commenting luring out sedition?

    It’s been a while since I read Machiavelli’s Discourses (very pro-Democracy), but I reckon Machiavelli would have been a big blogger himself and encouraged all kinds of civic conversation in old Firenze.

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