September 4 – 9 , 2022, Dagstuhl Seminar 22361

Challenges and Opportunities of Democracy in the Digital Society


Abraham Bernstein (Universität Zürich, CH)
Anita Gohdes (Hertie School of Governance – Berlin, DE)
Beth Simone Noveck (New York University, US)
Steffen Staab (Universität Stuttgart, DE)

For support, please contact

Simone Schilke for administrative matters

Andreas Dolzmann for scientific matters


List of Participants
Shared Documents
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


Digital technologies amplify and change societal processes. So far, society and intellectuals have painted two extremes of viewing the effects of the digital transformation on democratic life. While the early 2000s to mid-2010s declared the "liberating" aspects of digital technology, the post-Brexit events and 2016 US elections have emphasized the "dark side"of the digital revolution. Now, explicit effort is needed to go beyond tech saviorism or doom scenarios.

In this Dagstuhl Seminar, we aim to have interdisciplinary discussions on the challenges and opportunities of online platforms, online participation, and online deliberation, including experts in computer science, political science, sociology, communication, law, governance, and policy-making.

In order to achieve a thorough integration of perspectives, we will start the first day of the seminar with several keynote talks by scholars and practitioners. After these talks, the seminar will organize breakout sessions as a vehicle for engaging diverse participants into focused discussions. Breakout sessions will be structured according to the five pillars of E-Democracy, suggested by the Manifesto for Digital Democracy 1) Safeguards, 2) Involvement, 3) Co-Design, 4) Stability, and 5) Experimental Testing. In between these breakout group sessions, the seminar will additionally interject "overview sessions" from different disciplines with requirement-giving "mpulses" from practitioners (politicians, NGOs, activists) in order to retain the overall focus on real-life problems and to not lose the intended approach of pragmatism and problem-solving. On the last day of the seminar, the program will include a joint session to summarize the discussed topics and define an integrated outcome.

Through this pragmatic approach, where real challenges are matched to opportunities, we aim to yield integrated research agendas, common problem definitions, and next-step implementation and dissemination strategies relevant to scientific research project officers and governmental entities. As a result, the seminar will define goals for enabling and regulating democracy in the digital society and formulate strategic project ideas to be submitted to national and international policy-makers.

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 4.0
  Abraham Bernstein, Anita Gohdes, Beth Simone Noveck, and Steffen Staab


  • Computers And Society
  • Other Computer Science
  • Social And Information Networks


  • Society
  • Democratic Regulation
  • Large-scale Deliberation
  • Large-scale decision making
  • Co-Design


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.