Sustainable E-Participation through participatory experiences in education


  • Ursula Maier-Rabler ICT&S Center
  • Stefan Huber ICT&S Center



e-participation, e-democracy, sustainability, participatory culture, political education, pedagogy, ICTs, new media literacy


The understanding of participation as a political matter has changed back and forth over the years. The latest twist back to appreciative attributions towards participation is fuelled by the development of the Internet, and especially the Social Web. Citizen participation is unanimously seen as an essential precondition for Deliberative-Collaborative eDemocracy (Petrik, 2010) enabled by Web 2.0. This paper considers participatory culture and its specific political, cultural, societal, and educational characteristics as a prerequisite for e-participation and argues that social media literacy is indispensable for e-participation to be sustainable. Young people’s affinity spaces (Jenkins,, 2006) can only lay down the foundations for social media literacy, but their further development depends on education. Political Education would be well advised to adapt innovative pedagogical approaches to the acquirement of new media literacy. This paper introduces an exemplary educational tool – predominately but not exclusively for political/civic education – namely the website Teachers can use it to deliberately create a balanced space for collaboration between Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives. PoliPedia – as a participative online tool – has the potential to facilitate participation experience in political/civic education and supports social media education. Thereby the embedding of technology in pedagogical and societal conceptualizations is crucial.


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Author Biographies

Ursula Maier-Rabler, ICT&S Center

Ursula Maier-Rabler is the academic director of the interdisciplinary “Center for advanced research and studies in information and communication technologies and society” (ICT&S Center) at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Trained as a communication scholar, Maier-Rabler has a long-standing research career in the field of New Media, in particular Internet and digital networks, and their interrelationship with society. Especially issues like eDemocracy and eParticipation, eLearning and cultures of information and communication are in the center of her focus. Maier-Rabler is also a consultant to various governmental authorities and decision makers in business organizations regarding strategic questions of ICT development in Austria. Policy research, in particular comparative studies on ICT-policies of European Member States, attempt to identify different policy practices and introduce a culturally sensitive policy model. Maier-Rabler is also active in various academic associations: she was president of the Communication Technology Policy Section (CTP) of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, IAMCR (1998-2002) and President of the Austrian Communication Association (1996-2000).

Stefan Huber, ICT&S Center

Stefan Huber is a doctoral researcher at the ePolicy & eSociety Unit of the ICT&S Center at Salzburg University. He obtained an MA in political science at Salzburg University and the CEP of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) de Rennes, France. His research interest is focused on citizen deliberation, (e)-participation, political education, and participatory budgeting supported by ICTs.





How to Cite

Maier-Rabler, U., & Huber, S. (2010). Sustainable E-Participation through participatory experiences in education. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 2(2), 131–144.



Special Issue: Research Papers