Information Communication Technology and the Street-Level Bureaucrat: Tools for Social Equity and Progressive Activism

Information Communication Technology and the Street-Level Bureaucrat: Tools for Social Equity and Progressive Activism

Lester Leavitt (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0556-3.ch003
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This chapter explains the theory behind an information communication technology (ICT) being developed to provide marginalised populations with a tool for uniting the voices of progressive-minded activists. The theory suggests that with this technology, seemingly incompatible progressive groups might enlarge their campaigns for social equity, creating a global, heterogeneous network. The ICT allows for the capture of crowd-sourced artistic creativity, and through algorithms that have been shaped by academics in public administration, makes content retrievable as pluralistic, policy-supporting narrative threads. The new narratives should also work to alter the discourse within communities by diminishing the worldview threats associated with zero-sum ideology. This ICT is seen as vital because of how powerful lobbyists (funded by global elites) have consistently been successful in skewing the outcomes of policymaking decisions and elections. The system is firmly rooted in the small-group, consensus-building organisational theories of respected authors dating back to the 1970s.
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It was the famed sociologist Robert Michels who wrote in 1911 about the iron law of oligarchy. In that piece “… he developed the view that modern organizations typically end up under the control of narrow groups, even when this runs against the desires of the leaders as well as the led. … Despite the best intentions, these organizations seemed to develop tendencies that gave their leaders a near monopoly of power (Morgan, 2006, p. 296).” In similar ways, modern theories about these organisational elites continue to underscore why the problems with government and public administration are what they are today (Farazmand, 1999, p. 325; Chen, 2009, p. 451; Thayer, 2002, pp. 107-115). This introduces the much larger debate about the stratospheric increase in the wealth of the global elite, all in a time when middle-class wealth is stagnating, which was the topic of Piketty’s bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-first Century (2014, p. 24).

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