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Anno LV, n. 227, gennaio-aprile 2020
The crisis of representation and the innovations of ICT have given new life to the ideal of direct democracy and to its modern creator, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau, in Italy, is often evoked by the “5 Star Movement” digital party. In fact, the Movement called its participation platform “Rousseau”, named after the philosopher. The reference is not accidental, and the analogies between the Rousseau’s political philosophy and the identity elements of M5S will be underlined. Generally speaking, the digital party aims at combining, through ICT, referendum and participatory/deliberative methods. However, this project faces some difficulties. This article makes one claim: that Rousseauian ideal through digital technologies, as pursued by parties like the M5S, has unwanted effects: it does not respect the cognitive and social characteristics of the human being and it can decrease the quality of the decision-making outputs. On the contrary, the forms of representativeness are preferable because, at the same time, they allow citizens to participate without asking them for excessively burdensome tasks and promote methods of mediation, decantation and elaboration.