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Technological Democratization: The Potential Role of ICT in Social and Political Transformation in China and Beyond

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AbstractThis paper seeks to understand the role of the Internet and information and communications technology (ICT) in potential democratic movements. We propose an ecological model of technological development and democratization which recognizes that change can occur (1) at individual as well as social levels; (2) on a continuum from oppression to freedom; and (3) in multiple social spheres. Using case studies from China, we suggest that ICT might facilitate democracy on account of its potential transformations and efficiencies in terms of individuals’ relationships to knowledge and information; governments; persons, groups, and nongovernmental organizations; and work and traditional social roles.

Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Human & Org. Development, Peabody College #90, Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203-5701 USA, Email:, URL:; 2: Dept. of Human and Organizational Development Peabody College #90, Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203-5701 USA, Email:, URL:


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