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Mota, José Carlos, Santinha, Gonçalo, ‘Social media and civic engagement: Discussing the case of Aveiro, Portugal’, European Journal of ePractice · www.epracticejournal.eu - Nº 16 · June/July 2012 · ISSN: 1988-625X

 

O artigo pode ser lido em: http://www.epractice.eu/en/document/5377051 e a revista completa em formato eletrónico (vol. 16) no seguinte link: http://www.epractice.eu/files/Journal_Volume%2016-Final_0.pdf.

 

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Abstract

Public participation has become a key issue in the decision-making process. It has been extensively argued that increased community engagement in public policy design and implementation creates many important benefits. One of these benefits is the acceptance that those who are affected by a decision have the right to be involved in the policy-making process and that their contribution may promote more sustainable and resilient solutions. Another benefit is the increase of public accountability for decisions concerning the allocation of public resources. Expanding the opportunities for public participation has, therefore, been welcomed in the fields of political and social sciences. A common recent debate on this subject concerns the need for innovative approaches that highlight a two-way interaction between policy makers and the community through digital channels. Social media technologies emerge in this context as having the potential to induce citizens’ participation in decision-making processes.   However, little empirical evidence can be found about their actual role. This article presents and discusses the roots and impacts of three related civic initiatives in the city of Aveiro, in Portugal. The use of social media provided the opportunity for deepening civic engagement in decision-making and, when possible, for counteracting local governments’ decisions in spatial planning. This analysis intends to be a step towards providing greater clarity regarding the interaction between citizens, social media and local government.

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