I participated in the colloquium of CeDEM 18 (now: EGOV-CeDEM-ePart), and wanted to briefly note down some impressions.
Small conferences FTW 🙂
It seems like EGOV-CeDEM-ePart has now become a small community of people interested in researching “e-topics” – attended by researchers and practitioneers. It is often hard to get beyond your own thematic track at bigger international conferences – at EGOV-CeDEM-ePart I always find this easy, but can still connect to scholars and experts from all around the globe. This year there were also 4 (!) social events, which were attended by many participants, particularly the boat conference dinner (which was often discussed, but still a first time experience).
From thoughts to reality
In general, it seems like when researching e-society, e-democracy and e-governance related domain,s we have entered a phase where we are not looking at the dangers and hurdles of potential innovations or developments anymore: we look at them from the perspective of their implementation. In other words: Ideas discussed at some previous conferences have turned into practise. I particularly liked the workshops where the “how” of such new realities was discussed, for instance the one about the Open Data Market Austria.
Dangers to the Fifth Estate, the politics of Blockchain and elite capture
I enjoyed hearing about the Fifth Estate, a concept mentioned by Bill Dutton (inspired by a thriller movie term, btw). It seems, again, that we are now not only talking about conceptualizing the Fifth Estate, but theorizing and researching the dangers to it. Phenomena such as fake news could be seen as such a danger to the Fifth State. Apart from the e-participation tracks I also enjoyed (as always) using Twitter as a seperate conversation channel for academic conferences. Often, excellent information, comments and critique come from outside, for instance this article about self-souvereign digital identity and the level of trust that developers have in Blockchain. Moreover I enjoyed learning about concepts such as elite capture (vs. corruption) and to think about ways to undermine the undermining of participatory budgets 🙂
Colloquium recommendation 🙂
I really would like to recommend the PhD colloquium! The scholars and experts who organised it did an excellent job in giving feedback and were well-selected for the diverse topics presented. Particularly cool was the idea to not present your own topic, but that of someone else (I had the chance to learn more about the smart sustainable city concept that way). I can only recommend that you apply for one of the stipends that are given out every year to visit the conference.