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E-government, public communications and civic engagement: the role of online information to the strengthening of democracy in Brazil and the United States

Grant number: 14/13042-6
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2014
Effective date (End): January 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Communications
Principal Investigator:Danilo Rothberg
Grantee:Aline Cristina Camargo
Supervisor abroad: Joseph Dean Straubhaar
Home Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura, Artes e Comunicação (FAAC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Bauru. Bauru , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Texas at Austin (UT), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:13/01819-3 - Public communications, internet and citizenship: science popularization on government websites, BP.MS

Abstract

Although the internet allows participation and interaction, problems related to access still exist. It is necessary to create channels that are not limited to participation via email or comments, but that reaches interconnectivity, allowing the audience in a more horizontal perspective of interactivity, so they can participate in the process. We aim to study how the internet can be a tool for improving democratic processes: informing, providing services, generating social capital and acting as a space for deliberation and participation, collaborating to make a more transparent, participatory and collaborative government, particularly with respect to science and technology (S&T) policies, which have a greater impact on sustainability. Our goals are, through bibliographical review to be carried out under the supervision of leading academics in one of the top five universities in the field of Communication Studies in the world, are: a) to identify whether government web portals provide accurate information on science and technology policies, encouraging public engagement and participation; b) to verify which online resources have been used in benefit of transparency and accountability and in order to reduce the digital divide; c) to point which online channels of communication have been used to sustain participation and engagement in policy-making processes; d) to answer how government web portals could be improved to foster digital democracy. This proposal of international cooperation is expected to generate significant academic gains and scientific achievements, bringing essential references for achieving one of the research goals, e.g., suggesting strategies for managing communication of government web portals, considering the potential of the internet as a tool for social inclusion and civic engagement. (AU)