The Open Data Challenge: Data Disclosure Between Citizen Empowerment and Digital Economy

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Giuseppe REALE, University of Catania, Italy
Davide ARCIDIACONO, University "Sacro Cuore" of Milan, Italy
In the post-democratic era (Crouch, 2003), the crisis of the traditional representation of interests is accompanied by a reconfiguration of the role of States (Sassen, 1996; Ohmae, 1999). The new scenario shows an unprecedented centrality of the citizen-consumer (Willis and Schor, 2012; Arcidiacono 2013). Citizens, thanks also to the use of digital platforms show an increasing interest for forms of direct democracy (Chadwick e Howard 2009; Della Porta, 2013), building a new partnership with  government and public admnistration, based on three fundamental strategies (O'Reilly, 2011; Linders, 2012): the increasing involvement of citizens in monitoring and guiding public policies (citizen sourcing); the availability of technological infrastructure that support a  new collaborative logic (government as a platform); the processes of self-production and co-production of public services (do it yourself government).

The Open Data issue (Volk, 2011; Auer at al., 2014; Bates, 2012; Kitchin, 2014; Gurin, 2014), promoting the transparency and online accessibility to governmental information, is a central part of this transformation. On this topic an extensive literature exists, mostly technical, or focused on regulatory, or economic  aspects. We chose, instead, to study the phenomenon from a perspective on which there is a poorer analysis (Postigo, 2012; Tauberer, 2014): the role of spontaneous and informal groups of citizens that decide to mobilize exclusively for promoting data disclosure.

The study is focused mainly on the analysis of an Open Data Movement in a specific local environment, named Open Data Sicilia. It will analyze the birth and development of this on line community through mixed methodological approaches, combining traditional ethnographic observation with a net-nographic approach (Kozinets 2002), in order to assess how valuable this research path could be and fixing a possible research agenda on this topic.