TRACK 9: Beyond Bureaucracy: Self-Governance of the Public Sphere and Innovative Use of Technology by Civil Society

Track Chairs: Alois Paulin (University of Public Administration and Finance Ludwigsburg, Germany), Robert Müller-Török (University of Public Administration and Finance Ludwigsburg, Germany), Zach Bastick (Harvard University, USA)

The “Beyond Bureaucracy” track explores innovations in e-government and e-democracy that place the citizen at the center of governance. While traditional lines of inquiry at the intersection of politics and technology focus on enhancing or supporting existing political institutions, there is an underexplored opportunity for citizens to use technology to shape the public sphere and to control government more directly. Internet optimists have long anticipated new, digital models of self-governance, including representative, direct, liquid, anarchic models. Critics have argued that technology cannot safely or desirably support greater citizen involvement. This track covers all aspects of direct, futuristic, radical, exploratory, and critical approaches to digital governance. These include the (un)desirability of using technology to support citizen self-governance; challenges to self-governance through technology; theoretical and empirical proposals; assessments of technologies to support governance; the impact of developing digital phenomena on self-governance (misinformation, bots, digital collective intelligence); and the ethical, technological, social, and political implications of existing and potential future models of public governance. The track also welcomes research and case studies on the innovative uses of technologies by NGOs and other non-government actors. The “Beyond Bureaucracy” track serves as a platform for pro/contra deliberations on the near and distant challenges and potentials of e-democracy.