Mediated Democracy – Linking Digital Technology to Political Agency




Democracy, Agency, Technology


Although the relationship between digitalisation and democracy is subject of growing public attention, the nature of this relationship is rarely addressed in a systematic manner. The common understanding is that digital media are the driver of the political change we are facing today. This paper argues against such a causal approach und proposes a co-evolutionary perspective instead. Inspired by Benedict Anderson's “Imagined Communities” and recent research on mediatisation, it introduces the concept of mediated democracy. This concept reflects the simple idea that representative democracy requires technical mediation, and that the rise of modern democracy and of communication media are therefore closely intertwined. Hence, mediated democracy denotes a research perspective, not a type of democracy. It explores the changing interplay of democratic organisation and communication media as a contingent constellation, which could have evolved differently. Specific forms of communication media emerge in tandem with larger societal formations and mutually enable each other. Following this argument, the current constellation reflects a transformation of representative democracy and the spread of digital media. The latter is interpreted as a “training ground” for experimenting with new forms of democratic agency.


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Biografia do Autor

Jeanette Hofmann, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), German

Jeanette Hofmann, political scientist, is Professor of Internet Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin and conducts research at the Social Science Center Berlin (WZB) on topics such as global governance, regulation of the Internet and the transformation of copyright. She heads the WZB-project group ‘The Internet Policy Field’ that studies the emergence of new policy fields with an empirical focus on internet politics. Jeanette Hofmann is honorary professor of internet politics at the Central Institute of Further Education at the Berlin University of the Arts (UDK), a research associate at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a member of various advisory committees, like the advisory board for spatial development of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure or the working commission ‘Digitalized Society’ of the Leopoldina. She was a member of the Enquete Commission on ‘Internet and Digital Society’ of the German Bundestag from 2010 to 2013. Furthermore, she has actively contributed to the UN World Summit and is actively engaged in the Internet Governance Forum. She was one of the three founders of the WZB project group ‘Kulturraum Internet’, which began to develop a social and cultural science perspective on the internet in 1994. Jeanette Hofmann’s latest publications focus on conceptualizing Internet Governance, the emergence of internet politics as a new policy domain in Germany and the role of trust in the global regulation of the Inte


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Como Citar

Hofmann, J. (2021). Mediated Democracy – Linking Digital Technology to Political Agency. Direito Público, 18(99).