ICT and Local Governance: A View from the South

ICT and Local Governance: A View from the South

Susana Finquelievich
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-69-8.ch011
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Argentina is slowly walking along the path of ICT uses for social and civic purposes. Local governments and community organisations are understanding the potential advantages of Community Informatics, and facing a myriad of prejudices and material obstacles to implement it. This chapter shows the first results of a three-year research on the subject of information technology, local governance, and community networks in the City of Buenos Aires. It deals with two intimately interrelated issues: a) Local government’s use of ICT for local management and communication with citizens: results and obstacles. The government is opening slowly to the use of ICT to decentralise urban functions, increase the flow of horizontal institutional information, update urban management, inform the citizens, and increase public participation in urban affairs. However, prejudices, fear of technology, and above all a resilient institutional culture are still considerable obstacles for informatization. The paper surveys the technological changes implemented by the Government of Buenos Aires City and studies the social actors who were responsible for them, as well as the social processes that made them possible, as a necessary framework to understand the slow development of electronic community networks. b) Emerging Electronic Community Networks. From 1997 onwards, they have multiplied in various sectors: education, culture, community health and wellness, citizens’ rights, participation in urban affairs. The chapter studies the local particularities of community, focusing on the differences between large and small community organisations, and their conceptions of time and space, linked to the use of on-line resources. It finishes by analysing the link between the local governmental context referring the use of ICT and the slow emergence of electronic community networks.

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