Open Government and the 2.0 Model of Engaged Citizenship

Title: Open Government and the 2.0 Model of Engaged Citizenship
Authors: Raizen-Miller, Nisa Malli
Date: 2014-05-07
Abstract: On President Obama’s first day in office, he released a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Transparency and Open Government, declaring his Administration’s commitment to transparent, participatory, and collaborative government and making a strong link between these principles and public goods such as democracy, accountability, efficiency, effectiveness (Obama 2009). Tracing the theoretical and legal history of openness, civic republicanism, and the decline of traditional civic practices, this paper examines the citizen as it is imagined in the American vision of Open Government, in order to better understand the intended and actual impact of Open Government initiatives and web 2.0 tools on citizen participation and engagement. It proposes that the Open Government Memoranda presume a mirror-image model of digitally-enabled, engaged, responsibilized citizenship that is under-explained in government documents and under-theorized in academia: citizens that are willing and able to work together with government and other stakeholders to solve problems, to use the information government provides to hold government accountable, and to provide expert advice to improve government policies and programs. Using Sherry Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation (1969) as a framework, this paper critiques the discrepancies between the aspirational language of the Open Government Memoranda and the Obama Administration’s initiatives to date. It proposes three areas for future research: the digital divide, the impact of web 2.0 on forms of traditional information dissemination, and the implications of this vision of citizenship on citizen autonomy and responsibility.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers