Accepted paper:

Digital politics, institutional logics and development


Richard Heeks (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper illustrates, explains and draws conclusions from the six patterns that emerge from growth of digital politics in the global South; patterns of Copy, Spread, Curve, Boost, Shift and Hybrid between dominant competitive and subordinate cooperative institutional logics.

Paper long abstract:

Politics can be understood as the site of contestation between two different institutional logics: a closed competitive logic of control and hierarchy, and an open cooperative logic of collaboration and community. As ICTs diffuse ever-further into developing countries, they increasingly support and even mediate the political processes that contest these logics, creating a "digital politics". Digital politics is associated with six different outcomes in the contestation between the dominant competitive logic and subordinate cooperative logic of politics: Copy (simple reproduction of the dominant logic); Spread (diffusion of the dominant logic into new political spaces); Curve (mutation of the form but not substance of the dominant logic); Boost (intensification of the dominant logic); Shift (strengthening of the subordinate logic); Hybrid (some combination of the other five patterns). This paper will illustrate these six patterns using case evidence from the global South, and consider their implications for political development, and their implications for those designing and implementing politics-related ICT4D applications. It will also consider how best we might conceptualise an understanding of the causes of these patterns.

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Power, politics and digital development [Information, Technology and Development Study Group]