Room: 
City Hall - Vincent Harris Room
Time Slot: 
Tuesday 31st March 13:30 - 15:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Dave McKenna (Swansea University)
Panel Members: 
  • Professor Hugh Bochel (University of Lincoln)
  • Ms Jane Scullion (De Montfort University)
  • Dr Catherine Bochel (University of Lincoln)
  • Dr Thomas Oliver (University of the West of England)

Digital technologies, e-governance, wikis and social media represent opportunities to improve and adapt interaction and engagement with local communities. Given their scope for facilitating unmediated interaction, these technologies have the capacity to alter various aspects of the local representative’s role, particularly in terms of information provision and engagement with the local community - collectively and as individuals. While a proportion of councillors have welcomed this change, for many the adoption of new roles, different skill sets and alternative models of support represent unwelcome challenges to traditional interpretations of representative democracy. The purpose of this panel is to explore the impact of digital and social media on various aspects of local democracy. It will discuss empirical cases, explore new thinking and assess change. Of particular interest is how these developments have impacted on and developed the theoretical frameworks, which are currently employed to assess and analyse local democracy. We welcome contributions that address the following issues: • the role(s) of the local representative • the role(s) of the citizen • the impact of digital and social media use on the relationship between council, councillor and citizen • the real and perceived benefits of digital and social media in the context of local democracy • the challenges posed by these new media • the theoretical models which help us understand local democracy in the digital age