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Virtual Agora: possibilities of a cyberdemocracy

Grant number: 12/10219-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law - Public Law
Principal researcher:Sebastião Botto de Barros Tojal
Grantee:Hélio Fernandes da Silva Soares
Home Institution: Faculdade de Direito (FD). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The strong demand for greater political attendance, for discussion of new issues and for rearrangement of the structures of power that no longer fit in with the party-electoral system has manifested itself within civil society in this new millennium eminently through the Internet, social networks, by simultaneous dialogue, by organized protests (internationally, Occupy Wall Street; in Brazil, March to Decriminalize Marijuana, March Against Corruption, "Ficha Limpa" Law), and by the outbreak of civil rebellions (Arabic Spring). By aiming this horizon, would those virtual spaces, as the title suggests, be treated as a real return to classic Pericles' democracy or as an update of democratic-representative paradigms forged since the bourgeiois revolution? This search is concerned, then, to investigate how the web can make possible, and if so, to what extent, an online government through political chats and discussion forums; exchange of politics information on social networks; options for electronic voting in referendums and elections; the availability of websites of governments and parties; among other agoras. And, particularly, the main topic of the juridic seat that touches us: to understand the role of law in comprehension and institutionalization of such mechanisms, entrenching them within the existing representative structure. In other words, not reducing them to mere casuistry of dissastifcation and intermittent protests; but to treat them as legitimate practical forms of political participation when dealing with public affairs, and also with the dialogue between civil society and government.

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