A special issue of International Journal of Electronic Governance
The potential benefits of e-government and e-democracy, from improved public service delivery to new opportunities for citizenship participation, all presuppose the role, competence and engagement of citizens as users. E-governance technologies and practices are designed with different uses in mind, and the user may be imagined and cast in numerous ways: as active citizens, consumers, workers, members of particular social groups, and so on. Beyond the question of Internet access and ‘the digital divide’, any beneficial effects of e-governance are contingent on the motivations and prior expectations of users, and their experience and actual use of e-governance technologies. User’s experiences are likely to be shaped by their perceptions of e-governance, including, inter alia, confidence in government, other political actors, and in the technology itself.
Much research on e-government and e-democracy focuses on the supply side. Research would benefit from placing analytical attention on the users and concrete uses of e-governance technologies. In this special issue, we welcome original unpublished papers on how to conceptualize ‘the user’ in studies of e-governance, and research on users’ expectations and motivations, competencies and know-how, and actual experience and use of e-governance. Contributions may refer to a range of ‘types’ of e-governance, at any scale and institutional level (international, national, regional or local). Research papers may be either qualitative or quantitative in approach, and come from any disciplinary or inter-disciplinary perspective.
Contributions to the special issue may address, but are not exclusively limited to, any of the following topics concerning the ‘users and uses of electronic governance’:
- The prior assumptions that developers and designers of e-governance technologies have about users and uses, and how e-governance configures and privileges particular forms of use
- The motivations, prior expectations and perceptions of the users of e-governance
- Users' actual experiences of e-governance systems, including, for instance, questions of usability and accessibility, and any unintended forms and consequences of use
- The role of e-governance technologies and practices in the everyday life of citizens
- Uses and perceptions of e-governance across different social groups and cultural contexts
- Influence of (user or text-based) interactivity on the user
Deadline for paper submission: 30 June, 2008
Notification of acceptance/rejection: 15 September, 2008
Final (camera-ready) papers submission: 20 October, 2008