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Abstract

The practice of citizens' democratic rights and duties must be questioned at a time when many of our daily customs and rituals are being challenged and redefined by the digital revolution. While retailing has already profoundly altered our daily interactions, any practice related to the exercise of democracy remains very traditional and this seems to be at the root of an ever-increasing disinterest in politics, especially among young people. We had the opportunity, through a qualitative survey, to study this theme in relation to the complete revision of the Constitution of the Canton of Valais in Switzerland. The latter follows a democratic process in which 130 citizens of Valais were elected to revise the Constitution. In addition, a consultation was put online on a platform as a pilot project from 7 November 2019 to 5 January 2020 with the aim of encouraging citizen participation and thus giving a voice to all the inhabitants of Valais. In this paper, we present the main elements of this qualitative survey based on the technique of "hypothetical scenarios", conducted among 20 Valais residents interested in politics (the majority of the interviewees did not use the online platform, a minority did, and some of the interviewees are “stakeholders” linked to the Constituent project). In addition to the survey based, we also carried out a "netnographic" analysis using the 1,235 contributions left on the platform during the pilot project period. The analysis of the transcripts made on the basis of the semi-directive interviews shows an interest in these digital citizen platforms. However, the respondents recognise that the citizens' platform is a first test and that more innovation and testing in this area is needed to involve people who are not currently participating in the democratic debate. This is somewhat confirmed by our netnography, as all the content of the platform has been produced by people with a proven political culture.

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