g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms' Length from Government
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g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms' Length from Government

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Paper by Axel Bruns and Adam Swift, presented at EDEM 2010, Krems, Austria, 6 May 2010.

Paper by Axel Bruns and Adam Swift, presented at EDEM 2010, Krems, Austria, 6 May 2010.

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g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms' Length from Government g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms' Length from Government Presentation Transcript

  • g4c2c: Enabling Citizen Engagement at Arms’ Length from Government Axel Bruns and Adam Swift ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation / Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology [email_address] – http://snurb.info/ – @snurb_dot_info [email_address]
  • Government 2.0 in Australia
    • From above:
      • E.g. DBCDE’s Digital Economy blog
      • Government-operated, resulting in general criticism
      • Problems with effective management by public service
      • Limited impact on government decision-making
    • From below:
      • E.g. GetUp!’s Project Democracy politician tracker
      • NGO-operated, good functionality
      • Problems with limited take-up by target community
      • Limited recognition by government decision-makers
    • (cf. Bruns & Wilson, EDEM 2009 )
  • (Excerpt from comments to first DBCDE blog post, archived at http://www.archive.dbcde.gov.au/2009/july/future_directions_blog/topics/minister_tanners_welcome)
  • g2c and c2c – Flawed Models?
    • g2c:
      • May be mere service delivery, not community consultation
      • Or: simply perceived as insubstantial spin
      • Apparent citizen participation as fig leaf for government
      • Process of impacting on government decisions unclear
    • c2c:
      • May generate open and engaged debate
      • But: often only by the usual (disempowered) suspects
      • Perception of inherent bias – unrepresentative community
      • Unable to match the clout of established lobby groups
      • Too distant from political actors to be recognised
  • Towards g4c2c
    • Desirable qualities for citizen consultation:
      • Government support and recognition
      • Independent and flexible operation and management
      • Distant enough to allow real community development
      • Close enough for outcomes to be accepted as meaningful
    • E.g. Australian Government 2.0 Task Force during 2009:
      • Initiated by federal government, but independent quasi-NGO
      • Hosted at gov2.net.au , separate from government servers
      • Significant initiatives to generate community participation
      • Outcomes recognised by federal government (but follow-up actions yet to be seen)
  • (Government 2.0 Task Force’s GovHack event, 30-31 Oct. 2009)
  • g4c2c
    • Government support for citizen-to-citizen initiatives:
      • Hybrid model combining g2c and c2c aspects
      • Government-supported, but at arms’ length from government
      • Public service broadcasting approach (and operated by PSBs?)
      • Participation by citizens as well as politicians and officials
      • Cf. ‘Civic Commons 2.0’ (Coleman & Blumler 2009):
        • a space of intersecting networks, pulled together through the agency of a democratically connecting institution (182)
  • Lost Opportunity: Australia’s 2020 Summit
    • Australia 2020 Summit (19-20 April 2008):
      • Gathering of 1000 invited notable Australians
      • Debate across ten ‘critical areas’ for the future
      • Open forum for generating and harnessing new ideas
      • Distilled into a report for government
      • Blanket coverage on ABC2 digital TV channel, and online fora
      • But: online fora cumbersome, and closed only days after Summit
      • Summit report produced by public servants, with little follow-up
      • No continuing debate on Summit issues (also due to GFC)
      • Journalistic coverage one-way and one-dimensional
  • ( Australia 2020 Summit – Image courtesy of the Australian Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet)
  • 2020 as g4c2c: Imaging Future Australia
    • What would a g4c2c version of the 2020 Summit look like?
      • Broader community participation:
        • Open online fora in addition to the 1000 Summit delegates
        • Intersection of online and offline consultations
      • Arms’ length from government:
        • Operated by ABC or dedicated public service body
        • Officially endorsed but independently organised and reported
      • Longer timeframe:
        • Initial development of themes and selection of participants
        • Summit as central event, but connected with other activities
        • Tracking of outcomes and their implementation in policy
  • Further Information
    • Axel Bruns
    • Associate Professor
    • ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
    • Creative Industries Faculty
    • Queensland University of Technology
    • Brisbane, Australia
    • [email_address] – @snurb_dot_info
    • http://snurb.info/
    • http://produsage.org/
    • http://gatewatching.org/
    • Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond:From Production to Produsage (Peter Lang, 2008)
    • Uses of Blogs , eds. Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs (Peter Lang, 2006)
    • Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (Peter Lang, 2005)
    Adam Swift Researcher Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia [email_address]