Conversations in Conflict Studies with Professor Sabina Schnell
400 Eggers Hall, the PARCC Conference Room
Vision, Voice, and Technology: Is There a Global "Open Government" Trend?
Sabina Schnell, Assistant Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs.
“Open government” is being hailed as a new governance paradigm. But while everybody pays lip-service to it, are governments around the world becoming more open? I look at changes in both the meaning and the practice of government openness around the world in the last decades. A few main trends are identified. First, the technological meaning of openness is increasingly supplanting the rights-based understanding of it. Second, even though more and more countries are joining global transparency and openness initiatives, global averages on budget transparency or open data have barely budged. Third, while autocracies are catching up to democracies in terms of using online tools to inform and consult citizens, we see an incipient democratic rollback around the world, including a shrinking space for civil society. Yet, the most significant changes in government transparency (“vision”) and citizen participation (“voice”) have gone hand-in-hand with processes of democratization. I conclude that, if we narrow down government openness to a set of tools and technologies used at will, as opposed to a set of legally embedded rights that guarantee access to information and participation independent of who is in power, we risk ending up with governments that are more closed rather than more open to genuine societal inputs.
Conversations in Conflict Studies is a weekly educational speaker series for students, faculty, and the community. The series, sponsored by PARCC, draws its speakers from Syracuse University faculty, national and international scholars and activists, and PhD students. Pizza is served. Follow us on Twitter @PARCCatMaxwell, tweet #ConvoInConflict.
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