Digital Democracy: Transformation and Public Contestations Mini-Workshop, 15 September 2018

Organized by Netina Tan ( and Tony Porter (

In the wake of increasing digital technology (social media, data-scraping, algorithmic learning), both democratic and authoritarian governments are using legislation to regulate fake news, hate speech and private communications. Enforcement of these regulations has the potential to impact freedom of speech, privacy and democratic governance in unknown ways.

The objective of this workshop is to bring together researchers from McMaster and the surrounding area to identify existing areas of overlapping interest in digital democracy. Contributions are welcome from any discipline and Faculty, whether they focus on empirical, technical, policy, methodological or theoretical perspectives—so long as they relate to challenges associated with digital technology and democracy.

Workshop Highlights:

  • Participants are expected to circulate and present a short 1500-word paper and to take part in a discussion on another participant’s paper
  • Selected papers from the workshop will be assembled and submitted for consideration as a peer-reviewed Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition Working Paper

Relevant Topics:

  • Democracies at risk
  • Contested elections and political legitimacy
  • Digital divides
  • Inequalities in the governance of the internet
  • Impact of digital technologies on public and private governance strategies
  • Online discrimination, hate speech and violent content
  • Rising cynicism and the participation gap
  • “Fake news” and the politics of fear
  • Digital activism and human rights online
  • Voter experience innovation
  • Surveillance and democracy
  • Digital literacy