The Boundaries of Participatory citizenship
Author(s): Borchorst, N.G., Bødker, S. & Zander, P.-O.
Place of publication: ECSCW 2009
Abstract: This paper explores the space between municipal administrative systems and citizens' web use. It addresses the possibilities of drawing new boundaries between public administration and citizens' everyday lives through a shared planning and visualization artifact, embedded into Web 2.0. The case deals with planning, advising and control of parental leave. This process involves several citizens, the municipal office, employers, as well as the laws regulating parental leave, and the collective agreements supplementing this legislation. The municipal office controls that citizens and employers comply with the law. At the same time it is often the only reliable source of overview of the law, and of leave days recorded. This paper analyses the current situation, presents an exploratory design process and outcome, probing the boundaries between citizens and the municipal office. Focusing on boundaries and tribes, the paper discusses how new forms of web technologies may improve communication between citizen and government and facilitate collaborative user empowerment: Participatory citizenship. Where Web 2.0 technology is often thought of as tearing down boundaries between individuals, this case points to the importance of a focus beyond individual users, and a renegotiation of boundaries between citizens and caseworkers in the context of other groups of actors.