National Science Fund, IDEAS competition (2010-2012)
Directed by Anna Krasteva
This project develops a new, innovative, original field, namely the e-citizenship, the active inclusion of citizens in virtual agora and their informed participation. The project contributes to constituting and analysing of a crucial for the quality of democracy triangle, consisting of active citizens, accountable elites and responsible politics. It is aimed to best European practices, worked out to comply with the European initiative i2010 for electronic inclusion.
The objective is twofold: to research and promote the e-citizen, in order to make them key figures, playing a significant role in the newly established form of e-democracy. It is really necessary to mobilise the resources of the technical and social sciences in order to achieve these goals: computer sciences, political sciences, sociology and public administration. The project corresponds both to the fundamental scientific research (new knowledge for a new phenomenon) and experimental development (formation and promotion of the e-citizen, creation of virtual agora for non anonymous and responsible participation, creation of Civic coalition for e-politics).
The innovative approach, its contribution to the experimental development of new democratic practices shall be realised through the following results:
- Reversal of the theoretical approach from e-government to e-citizen. Most of the policies so far have been focused on elaboration of public policies through optimization of ICT’ use. In this respect the citizens are mainly users of public information. This project emphasises on enhancing citizen’s commitment and empowerment. This approach will accelerate the transition from the initial first and second stages of e-policy making to the more interactive fourth and fifth stages.
- Creation of a Virtual agora, which gives the opportunity for monitoring of public policies and for the ideas and initiatives of citizens to be included in the political agenda. What is original in the virtual agora is that it is not distant to local needs; on the contrary 6 regional agora will deal with them.
- Development of the new interdisciplinary field of e-citizenship at the crossing of political sciences, sociology, public administration, and information and communication technologies. Both books entitled "E-citizenship" and "Virtual Agora" as well as a big international conference on these issues will build the theoretical foundation of the new interdisciplinary field.
- Institutionalisation of research and practices of the e-participation and e-democracy. This project launches and realizes the idea for opening a Centre for e-democracy, which will generate ideas, studies, projects, civic initiatives. Such a Centre will be recognised as the European voice of e-democracy in Bulgaria and Bulgarian voice in the e-networks in Europe.
The project will make a substantial contribution for initialization and promoting new politics for improving the quality of democracy in Bulgaria through the use of the ICT and the innovative idea of e-citizenship. The experimental development of the civic and political e-participation will be promoted by the Civic coalition for e-politics.
The team has the necessary capacity, crystallized in an impressive number and quality of scientific publications in the field of political culture, participation, europeanization, campaigns, as well as in ICT and medias, international recognition – number of awards and honors; rich experience in directing national and European projects. A very positive element of its composition is the high percentage of young scholars who account for more than one third (38%).