Appropriating Technology for Accountability (VII). Governance actors, processes and relationships

Notes from the Appropriating Technology for Accountability, part of the Making All Voices Count program, organized by Institute of Development Studies and held in Brighton, UK, on 25-26 October 2017. More notes on this event: allvoicescount.

Governance actors, processes and relationships
Framer: Vanessa Herringshaw, independent/MAVC

What is doing technology to intermediaries (and infomediaries) between the government and the citizens? Is technology bringing in new actors to the democratic game? The landscape of actors is increasingly complex, with new actors, new behaviors, new relationships, new tools. The days of isolated political intervention are over.

Are technological platforms for petitioning or for interrogating the government? For demanding or for collaboration? Are for public services users or for citizens? How do tech platforms reframe the way we understand citizens and citizen engagement? How does it impact on governance and politics?

Facilitator: Tim Davies, Practical Participation
Participants: Lily Tsai, MIT; Sarah Lister, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre; Gaia Gozzo, CARE; Anu Joshi, IDS; Alex Howard, Sunlight Foundation; Kate McAlpine, Community for Children’s Rights Ltd; Shandana Mohmand, IDS; Steadman Noble, VSO; Kate Bingley, Christian Aid

In the actual governance landscape, is it changing or are there just the usual suspects?

Citizens need evidence of government responsiveness before deciding to engage, so to measure the effectiveness of their engagement. Even more, sometimes citizens are punished (literally or figuratively) for engaging. Punishment sometimes sparks more participation, but many times stops people from engaging.

There is some evidence that the more democratic competition, the more information, people tend to reinforce their former beliefs. This is counter-intuitive, but it has to do with excess of information and economies of time. On the other hand, governments are more responsive when the information source is reliable or, even more, accountable.

Civil society organizations have a role in legitimizing, giving credibility to citizen-generated and citizen-owned data for governance actors, so that that data is trustworthy.

We have to think creatively on how to shift incentives of engagement.

Where are journalists in this debate? Why is there a divorce between people in NGOs and journalists?


Making All Voics Count: Appropriating Technology for Accountability (2017)