About Me

Ismael Peña-López

I am Ismael Peña-López.

I am Director General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes at the Government of Catalonia.
Formerly, and during nearly 13 years, I was professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia.
I have also been senior researcher at Open Evidence and fellow director of Open Innovation at Fundació Jaume Bofill.

My main areas of work are the impact of ICTs in society (e-Readiness, the digital divide), especially in development (e-inclusion, ICT4D), and educational (e-Learning, digital competence) and political (e-participation, e-democracy) institutions.

News

Draft Opinion. Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens

Cover of the draft opinion "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens"
Draft Opinion "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens"

On 9 December 2019, the Catalan Government presented a working document at the 26th CIVEX commission meeting of the European Committee of the Regions.

The aim of the working document was to spark a debate for an upcoming Opinion on the "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens". The working document had the following scheme:

  1. Bridging the gap between what leaders see vs. what citizens see
  2. Lack of identification of EU issues with daily-life issues
  3. An ecosystem of infrastructures of participation
  4. Engaged citizens in a technopolitical paradigm
  5. Transforming the administration(s)

Now, a draft for that opinion has just been published for its discussion during the 2nd CIVEX commission meeting. As it happened with the working document, my colleague Mireia Borrell, Secretary for External Action and the European Union of the Government of Catalonia, acts as ...

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Opinion Factsheet. Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens

Cover of the opinion factsheet "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens"
Opinion Factsheet "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens"

The European Union is entering a sort of constitutional process. The Conference on the Future of Europe will be a two-year time span devoted to reflect what the EU should be like in many issues, and aiming at institutionalizing this reflection in the form of formal agreements, maybe a new treaty, maybe even a/the constitution.

There is —amongst many others— a big fear driving the conference: the huge disconnection between European institutions and citizens' daily lives, that increasingly leads citizens to take shortcuts in the forms of populism. A populism that increasingly turns to be sheer fascism. This fear, though, can be turned into an opportunity to engage citizens more and better in public decision-making at the European level. This is the take of the European Committee of the Regions, that believes that ...

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ICT4D Blog

28/02/2020

A Theory of Change of citizen participation: an update

In June 2018 I was appointed Director General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes at the Catalan Government. The directorate general had been just created. There had been a previous Directorate General of Citizen Participation which had lasted from 2003 to 2010, when it was reduced to a subsidiary internal service lacking all kind of political attributions. The work done in those years had been formidable, but too many things had passed since, especially the 15M Spanish Indignados Movement, the raise of technopolitics... and the raise of populism and fascism all across Europe.

We urgently needed a theoretical framework in which to substantiate our political strategy, so I came up with a Theory of Change of citizen participation which defined four expected impacts of our political action:

  1. Efficiency, efficacy and legitimacy of public decisions improves.
  2. Populism has ...

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Sociedad Red Blog

21/09/2019

Artivismo, hacktivismo y cooperactivismo

En junio de 2019 me escribió Bernat Puigtobella. Me invitaba a reflexionar para las páginas de la revista Barcelona Metròpolis sobre un tema interesante:

En los últimos años ha aparecido una nueva concepción de la cultura que ha puesto el foco en la participación y las prácticas comunitarias. La incubación de proyectos culturales hoy ya no se valora sólo a partir de su retorno económico o impacto mediático sino por su capacidad transformadora para crear conciencia ciudadana, ataduras, tejido ciudadano, comunidad, etc. [...] Estas nuevas prácticas comunitarias nos invitan a preguntarnos qué rol tendrán los artistas y creadores en ...

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