677.2 Technological initiatives in the Brazilian public sphere fostering mechanisms of social and digital inclusion

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 10:57 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Christiana SOARES DE FREITAS , Department of Sociology, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

This article presents the results of a research carried out to analyze the use of innovation for enhancing interaction between the Brazilian State and society, based on an interorganizational, public and virtual network. The research was carried out during 2010 regarding a Ministry of Planning project called the Brazilian Public Software.

The public software selected was i-Educar, developed by members of the City Hall of Itajaí in the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina. After its release, it is a tool that can be built by all interested members of society. The software aims at managing information of the educational system of a certain municipality. In doing so, paper use is reduced as well as the time searching for information. Duplicity of archived documents tends to disappear. It is also observed an increase in the quality of the relationship between citizens and public organizations. The initiative tends to develop public services and increase its qualities.

Social Network Analysis theory and method were applied. To attain quantitative results, an extensive questionnaire was made available to the i-Educar´s community during a three-month period. The questionnaire contained closed questions to the users of the software, in order to perceive social transformations made possible with the introduction of this new technological tool. To attain qualitative results, semi structured interviews were conducted to identify the perceptions of the creators and coordinators of the public software.

The results indicate new forms of political participation and social inclusion using the Internet, fostering the expansion and consolidation of participative democracy in contemporary societies. It is possible to perceive several social and political bottom-up movements that are reshaping the Brazilian public sphere. These changes tend to develop a strong sense of citizenship among individuals and at the same time tend to foster transparency and social accountability in public organizations.