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The Government of Catalonia funds research by the UOC into democratic quality

To analyse online deliberation by citizens

La deliberació ciutadana online: avaluació de la deliberació en les noves plataformes participatives dels ajuntaments catalans i en les xarxes socials relacionades [Online citizen deliberation: assessment of deliberation on the new participative platforms of Catalan town councils and on related social media networks]. This is the title of the project with which we will be examining the participative platforms of Catalan town councils and interactions on Twitter with regard to local issues discussed on the platforms. In the project – which received the highest score from among all those submitted – a methodological instrument will be designed to measure online deliberation so that it can be applied across the board to other town councils and government institutions.

Coordinated by Rosa Borge, researcher with the eGovernance: Electronic Administration and Democracy (GADE) research group and professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the UOC, the project will assess the deliberative capacity of the new participative platforms of town councils and the related discussions on Twitter. The research will study the town councils of Badalona, Barcelona, Gavà, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Sabadell, Sant Cugat and Terrassa, as they are pioneers in the deployment of the Decidim (We Decide) participative and interactive platforms. The progress and results of the project will be posted on this blog.

“We need to question what the value of participation is when it is not accompanied by a prior process of reflection and debate. For collective decisions to be as informed as possible, we need spaces for debate in which to compare ideas and projects. The analysis of this type of activity goes beyond the typical quantitative approach of participation studies and places the focus on identifying the deliberative aspects of the discussions about projects, ideas and issues in which citizens participate”, notes the project's research team.

Research team

As well as Rosa Borge, also participating in this project are professors Joan Balcells, Albert Batlle, Albert Padró-Solanet, from the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the UOC; Andreu Orte, specialist from Barcelona Provincial Council and course instructor at the UOC; Isidre Obregón, high-level specialist from the Government of Catalonia and UOC collaborator; and Antonio Calleja, researcher with the IN3's Communication Networks & Social Change research group and collaborator and designer of the Decidim platform.

The project is funded by the Secretariat for Transparency and Open Governance and by the Subdirectorate-General for Democratic Quality of the Government of Catalonia, through the call for grants for research projects in the field of democratic quality (DEMOC 2017), organized by the Catalan University and Research Grant Management Agency (AGAUR).