In this accessible new book, Iain McLean explores the impact of
information technology on democracy. Combining democratic theory,
social choice theory and description of new technology at work in
Europe and the USA, McLean explores democracy as it is and as it
could be. The author begins in ancient Athens and moves through
Pliny, Rousseau, Madison and J S Mill to modern representatives and
direct democracy. Introducing the theory of social choice, he
argues that democracy is about procedures, not results, and sets
out some criteria for fair aggregation of individuals' preferences
to society's. Exploring the impact of new technology on these
procedures, McLean shows how it can save time, and increase
accuracy and accessibility, but also how it can lead to
manipulation and come up against Arrow's, Gibbards' and McKelvey's
In conclusion, McLean asks whether new technology widens or
narrows our democratic horizons, and points to the technical and
logical boundaries of democracy. Democracy and New
Technology will be of great interest to students and
researchers in politics, sociology, and media and communications
studies. It is one of very few books to explain social choice
theory in totally non-technical language and to explore what it
means for democracy.
'McLean's book is intelligent, well written and well informed.' THES
1. What is Democracy? Some Traditional Answers.
2. Are Modern Western Societies Democratic?.
3. New Technology and Democracy.
4. What New Technology can do for Direct Democracy.
5. What New Technology can do for Representative Democracy.
Glossary of Technical Terms.