Digital agoras: Democratic legitimacy, online participation and the case of Uber-petitions

This article discusses the impact of social media and new technologies of participation on citizen participation in lawmaking. This article focuses on electronic petitioning and examines how Uber, a controversial ride-sharing digital platform, has employed a traditional instrument of civic engagement for lobbying purposes. Notwithstanding the platform’s ability to mobilize thousands of citizens, it is unclear how these and other online petitions should be evaluated from the point of view of their democratic legitimacy. Drawing on the analysis of Uber petitions and the review of the legal and social science literature, I argue that technology has shaped civic engagement in the case of e-petitioning, by mobilizing citizens at a faster pace, promoting political and legal discussions in apolitical platforms, and providing more information at lower costs. I suggest that technology has nonetheless not solved the democratic deficits of online petitioning, partially due to its limited influence and the leadership of participatory initiatives.

Ranchordás, S. (2017), Digital agoras: Democratic legitimacy, online participation and the case of Uber-petitions, Theory and Practice of Legislation, 5(1), pp. 31-54.


  • Uber
  • transport
  • On-location platform-determined routine work
  • United States
  • 2017
  • Research publication
  • representation, industrial relations, social dialogue
  • English
  • Theory and Practice of Legislation (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • Subscription
Disclaimer  —  Eurofound aims to keep the information in this database up to date and accurate. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. However, Eurofound bears no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy or content of this database or of external links over which Eurofound services have no control and for which Eurofound assumes no responsibility.