During the 1950s, communications developed around a theory of mass communications that involved two poles: the state and the citizen. This approach generated the idea that mass of consumers (target group) consumers combined with masses of products and mass media aimed at those target groups, provides a well-defined commercial territory for developers.
The industrial economic model has taken mass communications and put it to use as a means of persuasion, isolating and manipulating individuals and gradually transforming them into consumers.
Mass media broadcasts a flood of information and advertisements to anonymous and passive audiences (the silent majority). Citizen participation is primarily embodied through consumption and voting in elections :
Today governments typically operate with short-term vision, their horizon of attention stretching only from one election to the next. A government’s departments are typically all silos, a classic structural limitation usually preventing the development of comprehensive strategies. Thus, governments today generally have no long-term plan(s) for society :
Unlike elective democracy that relies on majorities, participatory democracy relies on consensus. The process of voting is not different in either instance ; what is different is the quality of participation in the discussions leading to taking decisions.
Participative democracy combines several mechanisms :
- Access via Internet 2, data and local news which becomes information because of relevance and contextualization ;
- the emergence of consensus in the community, indicating the degree of confidence in future actions on the part of the group ;
- the result is based on the vote but, above all, it also demonstrates in action a citizen education project that enriches the long-term culture of the group.