digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Emergent democracy refers to the rise of political structures and behaviors without central planning and by the action of many individual participants, especially when mediated by the Internet. More recently, Clay Shirky has referred to this as "the power of organizing without organizations."[1] The term was coined to stand in contrast to more traditional forms of democracy, such as representational democracy and direct democracy. The phrase draws upon emergence theory for the idea that the simple actions of individuals can collectively create complex and unpredictable results, as when the behavior of termites results in large, efficient nests beyond the comprehension of any individual participant.

In the paper that first drew attention to the term,[2] Joi Ito expresses a hope that the Internet, as a large and decentralized network, will enable innovative responses by citizens to highly complex problems. From its outset, emergent democracy has been seen arising most clearly among bloggers who, as a decentralized network of writers, can provide a fuller airing and development of ideas than can the relatively limited resources of traditional media.[3] Supporters of the idea point to instances in which bloggers have brought about political change by posting about issues that mainstream media had not paid much attention to. The canonical example of emergent democracy was the December 2002 resignation of Trent Lott as Senate majority leader after bloggers publicized his praising of Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist campaign for the presidency.[4][5]


Ito had been vocal about issues with Japanese democracy, and had spoken at Davos about how broken he felt Japanese democracy was. "Afterwards, Ms. Ogata, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees told me that I should stop ranting as a Japanese and think more about global democracy and global issues," he posted. "These words stuck with me and last year I tried to think about blogs and emergent democracy outside of the Japanese context." [6] He organized a group effort to discuss and document the emergent democracy concept, using a term initially coined by Ross Mayfield. He announced meetings on his weblog, inviting his readers to attend a conference call that was augmented by IRC chat for posting realtime visual cues and backchannel conversation, and a wiki for gathering notes from the call. This "multimodal" approach was called a "happening" by Ross Mayfield.[7] The conversation resulted in Ito's online article that generated discussions about the potential for weblogs and other social software tools to have an impact on participation in governance. The discussion and notes were captured in a paper that was placed on a wiki for collaborative editing and enhancement. Jon Lebkowsky edited the wiki version, and published it as a chapter in the 2005 book Extreme Democracy.[8] A "teach-in" on that topic was held on February 9, 2004 as part of the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference.[9] The emergent democracy paper was incubated within the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies framework along with Tim O'Reilly's "What is Web 2.0"; the two can be considered as seminal works that influenced the emergence of today's social web.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shirky, Clay (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. The Penguin Press HC. p. Subtitle. ISBN 1-59420-153-6. 
  2. ^ Joi Ito (2003-02-13). "a "EmergentDemocracyPaper"". Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  3. ^ Gillmor, Dan (2006). We the Media. O'Reilly. ISBN 0-596-10227-5. 
  4. ^ Gillmor, pp. 44–45
  5. ^ Shirky, pp. 61–66
  6. ^ Joi Ito (2004-02-22). "Caring about the rest of the world". Retrieved February 22, 2004. 
  7. ^ Joi Ito (2003-04-29). ""happening" on "emergent democracy"". Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  8. ^ Lebkowsky, Jon (2005). Extreme Democracy. Lulu.com. ISBN 1-4116-3139-0. 
  9. ^ O'Reilly Publishing (2004-02-09). "Digital Democracy Teach-In". Retrieved February 9, 2004. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergent_democracy — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
9816 videos foundNext > 

Joi Ito | Emergent Democracy Revisited | PDF13 HD

Personal Democracy Forum 2013 | June 6-7 | NYC "Think Bigger" http://personaldemocracy.com/conferences/nyc/2013 Personal Democracy Forum 2013, held ...

Direct Democracy: Utopian Ideal or Emergent Reality?

Is direct democracy nothing more than a utopian ideal? Is it possible that an emergent reality is starting to challenge that which we so ignominiously call a ...

Why Bio is the New Digital - Joi Ito keynote

From the 2015 Solid Conference. About Joichi Ito (MIT Media Lab): Media Lab Director Joi Ito is a leading thinker and writer on innovation, global technology ...

Aref Nayed supports political pluralism as a fundamental element of Libya’s emergent democracy

Aref Nayed believes fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and the freedom of speech and association, must be protected. He views ...

Aref Nayed highlights the importance of religion in Libya’s emerging democracy

Aref Nayed believes theological scholars must explore ways to integrate the role of religion into Libya's emerging democracy in line with the spiritual heritage of ...

Iraqi Kurdistan: A revolution in the making

A video for my UTM112 class. Bibliography Books Gareth R.V. Stansfield, Iraqi Kurdistan [electronic resource] : political development and emergent democracy.

Best of "Literacy of Cooperation" lectures

A short compendium from the "Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation" lectures at Stanford, Winter 2005, found at ...

Dambisa Moyo: Is China the new idol for emerging economies?

The developed world holds up the ideals of capitalism, democracy and political rights for all. Those in emerging markets often don't have that luxury.

(Befuddled) MSNBC Contributor: What's Happening In Egypt Shows 'Democracy Has Its Limitations'

7/3/2013 - On Wednesday, Lehigh University professor and MSNBC contributor James Peterson took a skeptical view of the coup that ousted Egyptian President ...


Featuring discussions of cosmopolitanism and deliberative democracy; Raymond Williams's model of dominant, residual, and emergent cultures; Puritanism and ...

9816 videos foundNext > 

36 news items

Washington Post (blog)
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 08:19:15 -0700

Responses revealed that the tension between balancing civil liberties and security concerns divides the Tunisian electorate and deeply colors views of its emergent democracy. Security issues, many of which predate the fall of former President Zine el ...
Computer Graphics World
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 07:37:30 -0700

“The SIGGRAPH community is full of thoughtful, innovative and curious minds, which Ito embodies through his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy, and Internet freedom.” As director of the ...


Thu, 19 Mar 2015 07:45:23 -0700

In a move that bolstered Tunisia's claim to a strong civil society and relatively successful democratic transition, thousands of citizens flocked to the streets to express outrage at Wednesday's Bardo museum attack in Tunis. Crowds amassed in the ...

Mission Network News

Mission Network News
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 21:00:53 -0700

In Tunisia, it's a newly emergent democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring. It's not likely to stop there, says Open Doors USA President and CEO, David Curry. “I believe we're going to see more events like this because you have large populations of ...
Yahoo Finance UK
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:37:30 -0800

“The SIGGRAPH community is full of thoughtful, innovative and curious minds, which Ito embodies through his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy, and Internet freedom.” As director of the ...
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 06:18:45 -0700

Refugees and exiles, they washed up on the shores of emergent democracy from the traumatic disintegration of medieval Christianity, culminating in the French Revolution. Girard held to the view that reversing the drift of democracy by religious ...


Mon, 20 Apr 2015 05:27:44 -0700

Just an irrelevant King trying to find relevance in an emergent democracy.Could we be witnessing the begininng of the end for these useless monarchs who drain the fiscuses of fragile african economies?Too bloody late Zwelithini..in fact about 400 odd ...

Left Foot Forward

Left Foot Forward
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 02:41:46 -0800

If I tell you I was at Euromaidan you'll immediately get the wrong idea. On a freezing cold day of brilliant sunshine, I was keeping an appointment with an important Ukrainian for whom I have a soft spot; my wife. It was December 2013 – before the ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight