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    Finding Common Ground for Citizen Empowerment in the Smart City

    Kelleher, John D. and Kerr, Aphra (2020) Finding Common Ground for Citizen Empowerment in the Smart City. Ethics & Politics, 22 (2). pp. 33-61. ISSN 1825-5167

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    Corporate smart city initiatives are just one example of the contemporary culture of surveillance. They rely on extensive information gathering systems and Big Data analysis topredict citizen behaviour and optimise city services. In this paper we argue that many smart city and social media technologies result in a paradox whereby digital inclusion for the purposes of service provision also results in marginalisation and disempowerment of citizens. Drawing upon insights garnered from a digital inclusion workshop conducted in the Galapagos islands, we propose that critically and creatively unpacking the computational techniques embedded in data services is needed as a first step if we are to reimagine neganthropic, sustainable and empowering data services for inhabitants in diverse localities. We propose a therapeutic inspired by the concept of ‘common ground’ from communication theory. Common ground presupposes a symmetry of purpose, shared values and accessible participation processes. When common ground is deployed in the smart city context it prompts us to reimagine data services as an ongoing dialogue between peers, to rethink citizen participation in terms of capabilities and empowerment, and to focus on clear lines ofaccountability and equality of citizen outcomes.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Surveillance; Data Capitalism; Optimisation; Prediction; Empowerment; Common Ground;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 13629
    Depositing User: Prof. Aphra Kerr
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 12:18
    Journal or Publication Title: Ethics & Politics
    Publisher: Università degli studi di Trieste. Dipartimento di Filosofia
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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