Accepted Paper:

Can a state resist its citizens? On the ontological multiplicity of Open Government  

Author:

Guillén Torres (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

This conference paper focuses on various instances in which Mexican institutions have (willingly or not) obstructed citizens' access to government information, thus preventing them to join decision making processes

Paper long abstract:

This conference paper focuses on various instances in which Mexican institutions have (willingly or not) obstructed citizens' access to government information, thus preventing them to join decision making processes. On the basis of interviews with Mexican information activists, I argue that the State can be experienced as a resisting agent that implements subtle and seemingly non political strategies to create and maintain power asymmetries vis a vis citizens. By mobilizing the notion of ontological multiplicity, I question what kind of State is being enacted through different relational practices at different moments during the interaction between citizens and institutions. Thus, I show that democracy, citizenship, information, openness and transparency, acquire different realities for each actor throughout the process, and that such multiplicity has problematic effects over the performance of Open Government, since it becomes a tool that can be used both to achieve the empowerment or the disempowerment of citizens.

Panel E07
After data activism: reactions to civil society's engagement with data