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An internet-based electronic forum as a Habermasian form of societal discourse


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  • Heng, Michael S.H.

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics)

  • Moor, Aldo de
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    Communication plays a crucial role in influencing various aspects of our social life. However, communication has more often than not been distorted by unequal opportunities to initiate and sustain it. Such a condition has been criticized by Habermas who argues for an ideal speech situation. It refers to a situation of democratic communication with equal opportunities for social actors to communicate undistorted manner. This ideal situation is partially being realized by Internet. The paper provides a case story of how an Internet-based too 1 can be used, for example by environment group, as a new avenue to create a more equal exchange of ideas among social actors. The Internet-based electronic forum, known by its acronym GRASS (Group Report Authoring Support System), is a generic software tool supporting the production of concise group reports that give their readers an up to date and credible overview of the positions of various stakeholders on a particular issue. Together with people and procedures it is a comprehensive socio-technical system which can play a role in resolving societal conflicts. With the widespread use of the Internet, such an Internet-based forum has the potential to become an emergent form of communication for widely dispersed social actors to conduct debate and discussion. The barriers to such mode of communication still remain - in the form of entrenched power structures, and limitations to human

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics in its series Serie Research Memoranda with number 0014.

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    Date of creation: 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:dgr:vuarem:2000-14

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    Related research

    Keywords: communication; generic software tool; Habermas; the Internet; transparency; legitimization; accountability; democratic forum; speech acts.;

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    1. Moor, A. de & Weigand, H., 1996. "The role of social constraints in the design of research network information systems," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-71748, Tilburg University.
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