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Three Case Studies from Switzerland : Politicians’ Personal Communication on the Internet

Richard Stäuber & Urs Gasser

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abstract In recent years, Swiss politicians have increasingly turned to the Internet as a method to communicate with constituents and as a way to humanize their public personas. This case study examines the use of Internet communication by Moritz Leuenberger—one of Switzerland’s Federal Councillors—and Christoph Blocher, a former Federal Councillor. This case evaluates the relative success and failure of their efforts, and provides a tentative assessment of how this method of political communication might contribute to democracy. It suggests that there are substantial benefits to deliberation, access to information, and the quality of voting decisions. However, the study also notes some of the caveats to these potential improvements, including the persistent presence of power relationships in the operation of the digital platform, and the persistent problem of the digital divide.

Available at: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.law.harvard.edu/fil es/Staeuber-Gasser_SwissCases_PolCommunication.pdf
   
type case study (English)
   
keywords internet, democracy, e-democracy, blogging, democratic deliberation, Switzerland
   
date of appearance 2009
series title Berkman Center Research Publications (2009-03.2)
publisher Berkman Center for Internet & Society
review not reviewed
   
citation Stäuber, R., & Gasser, U. (2009). Three Case Studies from Switzerland: Politicians’ Personal Communication on the Internet. Berkman Center Research Publications: Berkman Center for Internet & Society.