Democracy after the internet : Brazil between facts, norms, and code
Title: Democracy after the internet : Brazil between facts, norms, and code
Author: RIBEIRO, Samantha S. Moura
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2013
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
This thesis intends to deepen our understanding of how the Internet influences democracy. The proposed framework for analyzing this question draws from the discourse theory of democracy. More specifically, I integrate Habermas's politico-philosophical perspective into the debate on the Internet's socio-legal effects. This approach will allow me to examine how the Internet influences the core elements of democracy discursively conceived. In order to guide my analysis towards practical observations, I will apply the proposed theoretical approach to one particular democratic state, namely, Brazil. In a nutshell, the main aspects of Habermas's theory, which will guide my analysis, are as follows: (a) the understanding of autonomy as a twofold developmental concept divided into the two co-original dimensions of private autonomy and public autonomy (b) reciprocal recognition as the basis and moral reference of the legal order and (c) the role of law as a social integrative force. I will examine how the Internet might impact on the legitimacy of a democratic order and whether and how it might yield opportunities for democratic empowerment. I shall observe whether, following the penetration of the Internet in the Brazilian democratic order, (a) citizens have become more autonomous in choosing the laws that will shape their space of freedom, and (b) the laws that govern their behaviour have become more linked to their choices. I shall also assess the ways in which law, as an institution and a system, reacts to the changes and challenges brought about by the Internet. I intend to single out, in particular, the ways in which law may retain its strength as an integrative force, avoiding a "virtual" legitimacy crisis. Thereafter, I shall present concluding remarks on how a constitutional order may incorporate the Internet-induced changes consistently with its democratic values and objectives.
LC Subject Heading: Democracy -- Brazil; Internet -- Law and legislation -- Brazil
Examining Board: Professor Giovanni Sartor, European University Institute (Supervisor) Professor Florian Hoffmann, University of Erfurt (External Supervisor) Professor Alexander Trechsel, European University Institute Professor Mario Giuseppe Losano, Università degli Studi di Torino.; Defence date: 6 June 2013
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