So I’ve been away for a whopping 8 weeks, bouncing between holidays, summer schools, consultancies and moving the fam to DC. Somehow the internet refused to stop while I was gone. So as I get back into the swing of things, here is an abbreviated summary of the summer’s findings in civic tech research, plus a couple of choice weeds and reflections.
All the reports:
A @ report finds low trust in media among US youth, who often find news by accident, and demonstrate a variety of innovative verification strategies. Meanwhile, a University of London report finds that whistleblowing is more dangerous in the digital age and a new OECD report finds that the resurgence of single bidding significantly increases risks of corruption in European procurement. Take note #opencontracting strategists. Perhaps most happily, new research described in @ suggests that funders do use knowledge! In fact they get it primarily from peers and grantees, but it’s not enough to provoke change.
Though you wouldn’t know it from the title, Popular Democracy is about participatory budgeting, full stop. It’s a fantastic little book (213 pgs) that’s both accessible and illustrative, leveraging an ethnographic account of several participatory budgeting case studies to argue for the potential power of participatory mechanisms more broadly. It’s a casually written book that’s a pleasure to read, both because the authors serve up juicy details on the “secret histories” of their case studies (though they deny it’s their intention, 137), and because the theoretical claims that those cases support are provocative.
The book is divided up into six chapters. The first two set the frame for the book historically and theoretically, describing the international rise and dissemination of PB as a policy meme. Chapters three through five present ethnographies of individual case studies, and the closing chapter draws some grand conclusions.