Technologies of Democracy: From Town Halls to Twitter (Interdisciplinary Lunch)

Date(s) - 11/07/2014
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Halls of Fame Room

On Friday, November 7, 2014, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy will host an interdisciplinary lunch open to faculty and graduate students from across the UNC system. The topic will be Technologies of Democracy: From Town Halls to Twitter, led by Andrew Perrin, professor in the UNC-CH Department of Sociology.

As a representative process, democracy always involves creating and deploying particular technologies to accomplish representation. Any such technology – from the public opinion poll to the telephone to Twitter – fosters certain democratic practices while discouraging others. Over the past 20 years, some technologies have become so commonplace as to be unnoticed, while new technologies have proliferated. What opportunities are afforded and foreclosed by these technologies? We’ll discuss several approaches to the technologies of democratic representation.

Dr. Andrew Perrin is a cultural and political sociologist and a professor in the UNC Department of Sociology. His research addresses democratic citizenship in the United States, focusing on the cultural and social underpinnings of democracy (what people need to know, be, and do to make democracy work). Dr. Perrin is the author of two books, American Democracy: Tocqueville, Town Halls, and Twitter (2014), and Citizen Speak: The Democratic Imagination in American Life (2006) and he writes regularly for the sociology blog Scatterplot. In 2009 he received the Philip and Ruth Hettleman Award for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement from UNC. Dr. Perrin is chair of the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association and serves on the editorial board for Sociological Theory.

November’s lunch discussion will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Friday, November 7 in the Halls of Fame room at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication on the UNC-CH campus. We will provide box lunches and drinks. RSVP using the form below by Tuesday, November 4.

Background Readings


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Tagged: Citizenship, Democracy, Interdisciplinary Lunch Series, Sociology, Technology
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