Digital citizenship called to question

To adapt to the sit­u­a­tion cre­at­ed by the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic, UTC organ­ised its “Inter­ac­tions-Press” event in ear­ly Novem­ber in the form of a “Live LinkedIn”. On the pro­gramme: an online con­fer­ence by Clé­ment Mabi, UTC a research sci­en­tist, who explained how dig­i­tal tools are over­turn­ing par­tic­i­pa­to­ry democ­ra­cy. Some excerpts. 

An e‑democracy spe­cial­ist, Clé­ment Mabi ques­tions the state of pub­lic debate today and takes a crit­i­cal look at the tools pro­posed by the indus­tri­al sec­tor, par­tic­u­lar­ly the GAFA, and their uses. Dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy is grad­u­al­ly becom­ing a cul­ture that is trans­form­ing our rela­tion­ship with democ­ra­cy and cit­i­zen­ship. “Tech­nolo­gies don’t cre­ate fake news per se but make it more vis­i­ble. Depend­ing on the dig­i­tal tool used, we cre­ate a rela­tion­ship in a dif­fer­ent sense. The impor­tant thing is the space in which we express our­selves. When we do it with peo­ple who look like us, speech is freer. But can dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy bring democ­ra­cy up to date? The more we use dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy, the more we need to put peo­ple behind it”, says Clé­ment Mabi, who has tak­en a strong inter­est in these “cit­i­zen-ori­ent­ed tech­nolo­gies” bet­ter known as “civi-tech”.

Digital tools for citizen participation

“Civi-tech” refers to all the appli­ca­tions and plat­forms that make it pos­si­ble to use our col­lec­tive intel­li­gence and to strength­en the demo­c­ra­t­ic link between cit­i­zens, com­mu­ni­ties and the State. No won­der that civic engage­ment, com­mit­ment and cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pa­tion offer one of the favourite play­grounds for dig­i­tal entre­pre­neurs today. But dig­i­tal tools are not for every­one. “About twelve mil­lion French peo­ple are far from it. Pub­lic meet­ings still have a bright future ahead of them. There is a kind of Inter­net democ­ra­cy with a form of reg­u­la­tion. Even if it is the strength of pop­u­lar­i­ty and emo­tions that cir­cu­lates con­tent, for exam­ple YouTu­bers. There is an emo­tion­al mobil­i­sa­tion behind this mech­a­nism of the Inter­net and social net­works where, in order to opti­mise vis­i­bil­i­ty, you can stand behind key words such as #I am Char­lie or #MeToo.” Then there is the legit­i­mate ques­tion of the demo­c­ra­t­ic reg­u­la­tion of these social networks. 

Clément Mabi, citizen-cum-research scientist

Clé­ment Mabi is a research sci­en­tist in infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sci­ences at UTC (Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, Com­piègne), spe­cial­is­ing in dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy at the ser­vice of democ­ra­cy. He is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in dig­i­tal­ly-assist­ed con­sul­ta­tion and pub­lic debate. With­in the UTC-Costech lab­o­ra­to­ry (Knowl­edge Organ­i­sa­tion and Tech­no­log­i­cal Sys­tems), he leads the Epin team (Dig­i­tal Writ­ing, Prac­tices and Inter­ac­tions) and is Costech’s deputy Lab Head. His work and pub­li­ca­tions have refo­cused on pub­lic debate: par­tic­i­pa­to­ry democ­ra­cy, online par­tic­i­pa­tion, con­cer­ta­tion engi­neer­ing. His reflec­tions have led him to explore many oth­er themes: Inter­net gov­er­nance, open data, open gov­ern­ment. Clé­ment Mabi is cur­rent­ly direct­ing a spe­cial issue of the mag­a­zine Réseaux on the theme of “Dig­i­tal gov­ern­ment and pub­lic action”, to be pub­lished in Jan­u­ary 2021. 

Le magazine

Novembre 2023 - N°61

Activité physique, nutrition & santé

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