Electronic Governance

Electronic Governance

M. Finger (EPFL—Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch096
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Abstract

Two parallel evolutions are currently challenging the functioning and the legitimation of the traditional nation-state: globalization and the rapid development of the information and communication technologies (ICTs). Both come together in the new concept of “electronic governance” or “e-governance.” Indeed, globalization in all its forms (i.e., financial, economic, cultural, technological, and ecological globalizations) is increasingly putting pressure upon the nation-state. Collective problems, such as climate change or organized crime, can no longer be solved by nation-states only, let alone by one single nation-state. In fact, such problems require not only the supra-national approaches and institutions, but also the involvement of non-state actors, in particular of civil society and the private sector. Simultaneously, the ICTs are gradually penetrating all realms and all levels of society, and as such increasingly affect both production processes and state-society transactions. If “governance” can be defined as the growing involvement of non-state actors into collective problem-solving at all levels of society (i.e., from the local to the global levels) (e.g., Finger, 2004; Mayntz, 1999), “e-governance” then means the active usage of the ICTs for such collective problem solving. In this article we want to both offer an understanding what e-governance is and could be and outline of the different dimensions and forces which currently lead up to e-governance practices. Consequently, our article is structured as follows: in a first section, we will present and critically discuss the state of the literature on e-governance. In a second section, then, we will show how governance and the ICTs are currently coming together, and subsequently propose a definition of electronic governance.Two parallel evolutions are currently challenging the functioning and the legitimation of the traditional nation-state: globalization and the rapid development of the information and communication technologies (ICTs). Both come together in the new concept of “electronic governance” or “e-governance.” Indeed, globalization in all its forms (i.e., financial, economic, cultural, technological, and ecological globalizations) is increasingly putting pressure upon the nation-state. Collective problems, such as climate change or organized crime, can no longer be solved by nation-states only, let alone by one single nation-state. In fact, such problems require not only the supra-national approaches and institutions, but also the involvement of non-state actors, in particular of civil society and the private sector. Simultaneously, the ICTs are gradually penetrating all realms and all levels of society, and as such increasingly affect both production processes and state-society transactions. If “governance” can be defined as the growing involvement of non-state actors into collective problem-solving at all levels of society (i.e., from the local to the global levels) (e.g., Finger, 2004; Mayntz, 1999), “e-governance” then means the active usage of the ICTs for such collective problem solving. In this article we want to both offer an understanding what e-governance is and could be and outline of the different dimensions and forces which currently lead up to e-governance practices. Consequently, our article is structured as follows: in a first section, we will present and critically discuss the state of the literature on e-governance. In a second section, then, we will show how governance and the ICTs are currently coming together, and subsequently propose a definition of electronic governance.

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