Digital platforms reframe the debate on the disruptive role that digital technologies play in the governance of democratic societies. The study analyses the use of Decidim in Catalan municipalities, a free open source platform designed from the citizen activism of the 15M, to understand its impact as an instrument of democratic renewal with the potential to influence the power relations established.
The implementation of the Decidim is an example of technological innovation that generates a combination of elements of continuity and disruption. The study analyzes its transformative potential in three dimensions: transparency, participation and deliberation. While the research results show some elements of continuity based on managerial models, disruptive potentials are also identified. Functions such as transparency and collection of proposals predominate over deliberative uses, but at the same time it forces administrations to take into account individual contributions of citizens, promotes citizen initiatives and brings new participating audiences. In conclusion, despite facing obstacles and resistance from institutionalized actors, the platform offers a transformative potential for democracy, thanks also to the innovative pressure driven by the network of activists and technology experts (Associació Decidim) who sustain the platform.
Borge, R., Balcells, J., & Padró-Solanet, A. (2023). Democratic disruption or continuity? Analysis of the decidim platform in catalan municipalities. American Behavioral Scientist, 67(7), 926-939.
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