This was awarded by the Standing Group on Democratic Innovations at the European Consortium for Political Research General Conference at Oslo 2017.
In awarding the prize, the judges commented that: “the paper’s exploration of the role of online anonymity in relation to deliberative democracy is both topical and relevant to the research field of democratic innovations. Deliberative democratic theory views the diversity of opinions and identities as a necessary precondition for deliberation, while the purpose of anonymity obscures aspects of personal identity.
"Yet, both deliberation and anonymity share a concern for an inclusive public sphere. Asenbaum’s paper investigates whether online anonymity is conducive to deliberative democracy by drawing on two opposing theses from social psychology – disinhibition vs. deindividuation – including relevant empirical studies. The paper is well written, engages meticulously with different literatures, and successfully combines deliberative theoretical insights with empirical findings from social psychology.”