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Bits and Atoms, Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood

Livingston, Walter-Drop: Bits and Atoms


Steven Livingston, Gregor Walter-Drop – 2014

Bits and Atoms explores the governance potential found in the explosive growth of digital information and communication technology in areas of limited statehood. Today, places with weak or altogether missing state institutions are tied internally and to the larger world by widely available digital technology. The chapters in the book explore questions of when and if the growth in digital technology can fill some of the governance vacuum created by the absence of an effective state. For example, mobile money could fill a gap in traditional banking or mobile phones could allow rural populations to pay for basic services and receive much needed advice and market pricing information. Yet, as potentially revolutionary as this technology can be to areas of limited statehood, it still faces limitations. Bits and Atoms is a thought-provoking look at the prospects for and limitations of digital technology to function in place of traditional state apparatuses.

Bits and Atoms, Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood
Oxford University Press
Research Project A1, Research Project T3
ISBN 978-0199941599
Appeared in
Oxford Studies in Digital Politics



Foreward; Sina Odugbemi
Chapter 1: Introduction; Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop

Part 1: Simulation, Consolidation, Opposition: ICT and Limited Statehood

Chapter 2: Information Technology and the Limited States of the Arab Spring; Muzammil M. Hussain and Philip N. Howard
Chapter 3: The Kremlin's Cameras and Virtual Potemkin Villages: ICT and the Construction of Statehood; Gregory Asmolov
Chapter 4: E-government as a Means of Development in India; J. P. Singh
Chapter 5: ICT and Accountability in Areas of Limited Statehood; Joseph Siegle
Part 2: Substitution: ICT as a Tool for Non-State Governance

Chapter 6: FrontlineSMS, Mobile-for-Development and the 'long tail' of governance; Sharath Srinivasan
Chapter 7: Natural Disasters and Alternative Modes of Governance: the Role of Social Networks and Crowdsourcing Platforms in Russia; Gregory Asmolov
Chapter 8: Mapping Kibera. Empowering Slum Residents by ICT; Primož Kovai and Jamie Lundine
Chapter 9: Crisis Mapping in Areas of Limited Statehood; Patrick Meier
Chapter 10: From Crowdsourcing to Crowdseeding: The Cutting Edge of Empowerment?; Peter van der Windt

Chapter 11: Conclusions; Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop