sexta-feira, 23 de novembro de 2007

E-VOTING RESEARCH – FROM A UTILITARIAN APPROACH TO AN IN-DEPTH CRITICAL AND REFLEXIVE ENGAGEMENT WITH THEORETHICAL ISSUES


Most of the e-voting research and discussion today are done in a quite utilitarian and technical way. This follows the worldwide positivist and utilitarian approach to research that neglects the social, cultural and political aspects of social life. There is a need for an in-depth critical and reflexive engagement with theoretical and methodological issues with regard to e-voting, especially in developing countries.

It is known that many e-voting initiatives are based on a market-driven approach that neglects basic priorities for people lacking education, clean water, food and primary health care. Under the market driven approach and the utilitarian approach, technology is treated as a mere tool. So, under the use of a traditional top-down model or the “tool-approach”, information technology like e-voting has been implemented in developing countries, detached from its social and political context, as an instrumental, static, elitist, and uncritical utilitarian approach that is no longer sufficient and appropriate.

By emphasizing the technical, utilitarian and tool approach to technology, the interests are just in terms of a narrow technical specialism, at the expense of social and political issues, often associated with an elitist and simplistic view that did not lead to a deep investigation of how social, economic, and political factors are embedded in technology.

Under a utilitarian and tool approach, e-voting seems to reinforce a narrow concept of democracy. It seems that in a democracy what is important is the act of voting and not public engagement and participation. People need democracy between elections and not just at elections time. In this case, we need tools to reinforce democracy between elections and not tools just to be used at elections time. Will e-voting empower the ordinary people? What does it mean for democracy and electronic election for millions of poor people? Was not this public network project designed to the advantage of corporate actors than to the benefit of millions of illiterate people? If e-voting technology is not discussed with society, will it strengths the powers of the elites, the rich, the educated, and the corporate actors at the expenses of ordinary people?

The discussions of e-voting insecurity and lack of transparency may lead the world, including Brazil, to embark on a high investment to keep e-voting security. The alignment between business and e-voting security seems to have been proposed already. However, this is not the solution for our democracy. E-voting research should not be separate from citizenship.

If we want to consider citizenship in our research work on e-voting, the traditional and utilitarian approach to research is useless. There is a need for a qualitative critical and reflexive research on e-voting, especially in developing countries. In other words, more social and political research on e-voting should be done, bringing us to more reflexivity and engagement with theoretical and methodological issues. By developing more sophisticated analysis of the social and political aspects of e-voting technology, it is possible to go beyond the voting process leading us to better understand that the social and political systems are components more important to improve democracy than e-voting.
References

1. Avgerou, C.; Ciborra, C.; Land, F. The Social Study of Information and Communication Technology. London. Oxford University Press. 2004.

2. Crabtree, B. Miller. Doing Qualitative Research. London, 2nd ed. 1999.

3. Denzin, N.; Lincoln, Y. The Landscape of Qualitative Research: Theories and Issues. London, Sage, 1998.
2. Rodrigues Filho, J. E-Voting in Brazil – The Risks to Democracy. Lecture Notes in Informatics. Electronic Voting 2006. 2nd International Workshop. Bregenz, Austria. 2006.

2 comentários:

Anônimo disse...

Sim, provavelmente por isso e

Hattie disse...

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Alena

http://grantsforeducation.info