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Reexamining the Role of Digital Technology in Public Administration: From Devastation to Disclosure

Eric K. Austin and Jeffery C. Callen
Administrative Theory & Praxis
Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 324-341
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25610936
Page Count: 18
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Reexamining the Role of Digital Technology in Public Administration: From Devastation to Disclosure
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Abstract

This article begins from the premise that the Internet is representative of a range of digital technologies that are constitutive of the current sociopolitical moment. Exploring and extending the work done in the philosophy of technology, we examine the question of how public administration, in its role in governance and democracy, can relate itself to the Internet and other digital technology in a way that not only resists its devastation but also gives it a positive role in human experience. The article begins with Heideggerian and Kierkegaardian critiques of technology, which reveal its potentially devastating effects. The consequences of these critiques are examined and propositions for an alternative ontology are proposed in which technology resists devastation and becomes world disclosing. This alternative gives propositional form to the experience of technology as it relates to post-traditional theories of governance.

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