Author Archives: Shefali Virkar

What’s in a Game: The Politics of Shaping Property Tax Administration in Bangalore City India

What’s in a Game: The Politics of Shaping Property Tax Administration in Bangalore City India

Shefali Virkar

Abstract

Much has been written about e-government within a growing stream of literature on ICT for development, generating countervailing perspectives where optimistic, technocratic approaches are countered by far more sceptical standpoints on technological innovation. This body of work is, however, not without its limitations: a large proportion is anecdotal in its style and overly deterministic in its logic, with far less being empirical, and there is a tendency for models offered up by scholarly research to neglect the actual attitudes, choices, and behaviour of the wide array of actors involved in the implementation and use of new technology in real organisations. Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of the Ecology of Games framework and the Design-Actuality Gap model, this chapter focuses on the conception and implementation of an electronic property tax collection system in Bangalore (India) between 1998 and 2008. The work contributes to not just an understanding of the role of ICTs in public administrative reform, but also towards an emerging body of research that is critical of managerial rationalism for an organization as a whole, and which is sensitive to an ecology of actors, choices, and motivations within the organisation.

Full Text

Citation

Shefali Virkar (2014). What’s in a Game? The Politics of Shaping Property Tax Administration in Bangalore, India’ in Jonathan Bishop (ed.) Gamification for Human Factors Integration: Social, Educational, and Psychological Issues (pp. 31-51), IGI Global, Hershey, PA.

Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom

Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom

Shefali Virkar

Abstract

Over the last two decades, public confidence and trust in Government has declined visibly in several Western liberal democracies owing to a distinct lack of opportunities for citizen participation in political processes; and has instead given way instead to disillusionment with current political institutions, actors, and practices. The rise of the Internet as a global communications medium and the advent of digital platforms has opened up huge opportunities and raised new challenges for public institutions and agencies, with digital technology creating new forms of community; empowering citizens and reforming existing power structures in a way that has rendered obsolete or inappropriate many of the tools and processes of traditional democratic politics. Through an analysis of the No. 10 Downing Street ePetitions Initiative based in the United Kingdom, this article seeks to engage with issues related to the innovative use of network technology by Government to involve citizens in policy processes within existing democratic frameworks in order to improve administration, to reform democratic processes, and to renew citizen trust in institutions of governance. In particular, the work seeks to examine whether the application of the new Information and Communication Technologies to participatory democracy in the Government 2.0 era would eventually lead to radical transformations in government functioning, policymaking, and the body politic, or merely to modest, unspectacular political reform and to the emergence of technology-based, obsessive-compulsive pathologies and Internet-based trolling behaviours amongst individuals in society.

Full Text

Reference

Shefali Virkar (2014). Trolls Just Want to Have Fun: Electronic Aggression Within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom’, International Journal of E-Politics (Special Issue), Volume 5, Issue 4, pp. 20-50.

The Impact of the Internet on Transnational Civil Society Networks: The Anonymous Movement Unmasked

The Impact of the Internet on Transnational Civil Society Networks: The Anonymous Movement Unmasked

Shefali Virkar

Abstract

The rise in the number of non-state actors, particularly the emergence of civil society bodies such as NGOs, and the increase of their political influence has thrown up significant questions about how best the Internet and its associated technologies may be harnessed to aid the activities of such organisations. Can the Internet truly augment the effects of those activists, hacktivists, and cyberprotestors seeking to alter the landscape of international relations and political advocacy? This article attempts to answer this question through an examination of the possibly the most iconic, cutting-edge transnational civil society network of the 21st Century: The Anonymous Movement, and the manner in which the collective’s participants and constituent elements have successfully harnessed and have in turn been impacted by the Internet and its associated digital platforms and technologies. The research dealt with herein aims to showcase the various intersecting circumstances that help advance Anonymous’ contemporary geopolitical power, and in doing so, to contribute to that body of empirical political science which recognises the impact and significance of Information and Communication Technologies and their associated digital platforms on transnational protest and advocacy ever since their development and rapid global proliferation in the mid-1990s.

Full Text

Citation

Shefali Virkar (2014). The Impact of the Internet on Transnational Civil Society Networks: The Anonymous Movement Unmasked. The International Journal of Trolling and Online Participation 1(2), pp.69-108.