Crowdsourcing as a tool for political participation?: the case of Ugandawatch
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Public Information Systems, ISSN 1653-4360, Vol. 11, no 1, 1-19 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Uganda has democratic deficits where demand for democracy exceeds its supply. As a consequence it is argued that a segment of Ugandans might participate and honour the freedom to speak out, assemble and associate given new opportunities outside the traditional political channels. With the expanded mobile coverage and access to mobile devices and services in mind, and using the concept of open crowdsourcing, the platform UgandaWatch was launched prior the 2011 general elections with the intention to meet the demand and to offer increased equality of political participation and advance efforts toward increased citizen engagement in Uganda. From a community informatics point of view, the study examined how and under what conditions access to ICT tools (mobile devices, networks and a crowdsourcing platform) can be made usable and useful for people and communities for increased political participation in a given context. By combining the collection and analysis of quantitative (SMS-survey) and qualitative data (focus groups) through a mixed-method approach, this study answer the questions what are the key factors that influence users’ willingness to use mobile phones and crowdsourcing platforms as a channel for political participation?, and what concerns do users have in respect of using mobile phones and crowdsourcing platforms in the participation process? The study shows that users participated because they hoped it would bring real change to Uganda’s electoral and political landscape, that it was a convenient channel to use (quick and easy) and that confidentiality was assured. The concerns relates to costs, trust, and safety. Crowdsourcing offers an alternative channel and may substitute or supplement traditional means of political participation. It can increase participation in some groups, also among those who normally do not participate, something that increases equality of political participation in a positive direction.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sverige: Mittuniversitetet , 2015. Vol. 11, no 1, 1-19 p.
crowdsourcing, SMS, mobile phone, community informatics, political participation, UgandaWatch
Research subject Computer and Systems Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122802OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122802DiVA: diva2:868645