Centre for Development Informatics Lunch Discussion

Time: 12:00 pm

Venue: Ganges room, 1st floor, Arthur Lewis building

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The Centre for Development Informatics would like to invite you to their next CDI lunch session on Thursday, 8th June. They will meet from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in the Ganges room located on the 1st floor of the Arthur Lewis building. In this session Felipe González-Zapata (PhD Researcher, GDI) will give a presentation on:

How does power affect the disclosure of open government data (OGD)? An analysis of the Chilean OGD initiative through the Circuits of Power

Given public datasets are a source of power and legitimacy for their holders in public agencies, their active disclosure through open government data (OGD) initiatives intervenes in political spaces and deals with power tensions that either facilitate or constrain its implementation. The purpose of this presentation is to explore the power dynamics observed in OGD in Chile, particularly how organisational power affects the institutionalisation of OGD based on the case of Chile’s open data initiative.

The presentation explores qualitative field data collected in Chile between 2014 and 2015 – 55 interviews with key OGD stakeholders and 30 relevant reports and regulatory documents. The research is conducted through the Circuits of Power framework from Steve Clegg, which analyses how three types of power flows across different circuits: episodic circuit (causal power), social integration circuit (dispositional power) and systemic integration circuit (facilitative power). This theory observes power as a stabiliser tool for adoption and institutionalisation of an information system: the more stable power flows, the more institutionalised the initiative is.

The analysis conducted shows existing power conflicts in the implementation of OGD in the form of limited empowerment of the leading unit to carry out OGD as well as power resistance from sectoral publishers in adopting proactive public data disclosure. These power tensions are explained by the lack of authority and legitimacy awarded to digital government institutions in the country, as well as a limited strategic approach for OGD that deals with the politics of public data. As a consequence, OGD remains shallowed institutionalised in Chile to date.