This week, the discussion of new media and its effect on Big Institutions and more-so big institutional Thinking is a passion of mine. I support an accessible network system for communities to organise themselves, strengthening leadership and knowledge of their needs with a DIY attitude. However, I am torn in the area of transparency because of my insistent perspective that certain aspects of institutions should remain out of reach from the Web 2.0 agenda.
This blog frames power as essential to the direction of ecologies of practice. Are institutions more powerful by resisting transversalities or adapting to them? And is it appropriate to give access or deny people from information zones? Do we even have this power?
The message from the lecture and readings rings clear to me; Framing is key (Massumi). It is no longer a matter of access to information; society is beyond asking for permission, it simply expects that all information will be revealed. Citizens have incredible power, but institutions can still frame issues that omit information to protect each discipline’s historical role in society.
Is this a good thing or bad? Who knows. Personally, I dedicate 40 hours a week to a volunteer organisation, AUJS (www.aujs.com.au), which work alone and in partnership with institutions. We struggle against hierarchy and yet cannot sustain ourselves without it. It is commonplace to agree that government policy and service would be improved with citizen partcipation (Styles, Catherine (2009) ‘A Government 2.0 idea – first, make all the functions visible’ <http://catherinestyles.com/2009/06/28/a-government-2-0-idea/>) however Styles admits that there are limitations to citizen governance, echoed in my experience with AUJS regularly because democracy in it’s most truest form, is very slow.
Lessig’s article is interesting because it similarly describes a NGO, non-profit that engages with the biggest political institution of them all, the American Government to create transparency (Lessig, Lawrence (2010) ‘Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.’<http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/against-transparency?page=0,0>). For me, this is an interesting exercise of framing, because regardless of its success, one cannot be naive to think that the information about government’s daily activities were shown without being reframed.
In conclusion, digital networks are changing the willingness (voluntarily or not) for Big Politics to become transparent but I can’t help be critical of the content we are given which is an assessable element to the success of Web 2.0 society.