Increasingly, governments are using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to communicate internally, with citizens, and with corporations. The electronic interactions between governments, citizens, and/or corporations are usually referred to as e-government. E-government as such attempts to increase the efficiency of government operations and of service delivery (i.e., “reduce red tape”), but also to increase citizens’ trust in public administration. Some authors even foresee democratic renewal, in conjunction with a drastically reengineered government apparatus. This chapter explores the normative, managerial, and technological antecedents of e-governments and explores the manifestation of e-government. It does so by focusing on goals, visions, and beliefs (“rhetorics”) at national and supranational policy levels (i.e. the American and European e-government policies) and by analyzing the technological and managerial problems encountered at the shop floor of municipal e-government initiatives (“reality”).
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