research links w 38-39, 17

New Media and Society has a special issue coming up on digital activism. It looks like a collection of cases, with little synthetic analysis or commentary. See the intro article in post print here. There’s also a special issue of the Qualitative Research journal focused on how qualitative methods should respond to the onslaught of new social data, including ethnographic methods for on/offline digital activism in oppressive contexts.

@wayan_vota ‏ explores data on how African governments track and surveil social media . On a brighter side, 2-wave panel survey (n=850, 572, 9 mos apart) in Chile suggests that Facebook strengthens collective political efficacy, Twitter strengthens individual efficacy, and Swiss survey data suggests that experiencing negative environmental conditions stimulates environmental activism (but personal predispositions and ideology are more important). Continue reading “research links w 38-39, 17”


research links w 48-49

Papers and Findings

A new Brookings report aims to answer the question “Does Open Government Work?” NBD. Not surprisingly, the report doesn’t provide a definitive answer. It does suggest six structural conditions for open government initiatives to achieve their objectives. The framework is nuanced and useful, but it’s not at all clear how the authors came up with it. It would be nice to know more about their “analysis of hundreds of reports, articles, and peer-reviewed academic studies discussing the effectiveness of particular programs.” Presumably they looked at evidence internationally, but there’s no clear distinctions made between different political and cultural contexts…

Meanwhile, an article in the ARPR assesses the implementation of the OGP in the US (OGP didn’t do much to change the way the US does transparency) and Portuguese researchers have proposed a “transparency ontology” to guide the development and implementation of open data initiatives, in order to make them more relevant for citizens. The paper relies on journalists’ role as “information brokers,” which is reflected in their method. They don’t seem to have interviewed any actual citizens.

Globally, the OECD has a new book out summarizing the future of Open Government, while the 2016 UN E-government survey paints a rosy picture. It finds that 90 countries have a portal for open data or services,  148 countries provide at “online transactional services” and “an increasing number of countries are moving towards participatory decision-making.” #devilinthedetails Continue reading “research links w 48-49”