Electronic Democracy. Buenos Aires and Montevideo
Cooperation South Journal
Lugar: Washington DC; Año: 2001 vol. 1 p. 45 - 45
This paper refers the results of the research carried out by a bi-national team (Research Institute Gino Germani, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, and Department of Sociology, Universidad de la República, Montevideo), in the first experience on comparative research on these issues in Mercosur countries. The cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo were chosen as case studies, since their geographic and cultural proximity highlights the differences and similitudes in the urban and social uses of ICT. The goal is to evaluate the social impact of ICT uses in local governments and in their communication with the citizens, as well as in the practices of civic networks that wish to increase their participation in public issues. ICTs uses and effective reach were studied in the local governments internal management, as well as in their actions to integrate the population to Information Society. Information about the ICT incorporation by community organizations was collected and processed. Primary and secondary data were used, including electronic surveys, face-to-face and electronic interviews, the analysis of the projects of both municipalities regarding ICT incorporation, and their current implementation. The tendencies detected in Argentina and Uruguay suggest an increasing of ICT use on local governance, though inhibited by conservative institutional cultures, and underutilization of available technology. Citizens participation through ICT are growing, stimulated by recent governmental plans, and by the interests of private enterprises. It becomes urgent to monitor an evaluate these processes in real time, as well as to survey the divergent paradigms of public participation and Third Sector groups initiatives supported by ICT. The most striking conclusion is that although both citizens networks and governmental institutions claim for ICT-supported cooperation, joint projects are still inexistent.