Governments worldwide have embraced Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) in order to increase their e-governance presence and improve their service delivery capabilities, efficiency, cost savings, transparency, and participatory opportunities. However, many pre-existing restrictions placed on governments have limited the true potential of e-government. Seasteads, or permanent dwellings on the sea outside the government’s territory, present enormous opportunities to further the goals of e-governance due to their exceptional degree of legal freedom and their capability to develop technological resources from minimal resources. Specifically, they present exceptional opportunities to facilitate e-democracy and increase public involvement within government. Mobile governance provides access to a greater number of citizens and facilitates democracy via an equitable and cost effective device that does not require connectivity or reliance on wireless networks. This chapter examines three theories surrounding public involvement: Representative theory, Pluralist theory, and Direct Democracy theory. These theories include important specifications for (1) determining the role of the citizen in regards to public involvement and (2) developing a blueprint for the role of the government in this process. In these theories, we find three distinct m-government implementation strategies in the context of seasteads. With an ultimate goal of facilitating greater levels of participatory democracy, this chapter examines the opportunities, risks, and prerequisites for success in m-government implementation in seasteads (based on three public involvement theories). The chapter concludes by recommending that seasteads strive during early stages in order to implement m-governance that embraces tenets of each theory of democracy.
Sean Mossey graduated summa cum laude and earned a BA and an MPA from the University of New Hampshire in history and public administration, respectively. His research interests and competencies include information security policy, quantitative analysis, global comparative policy, and organizational theory. He has worked on projects in the realms of international relations, e governance, m-governance, and organizational development. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and is the current student representative for the Northeastern Conference on Public Administration (NECOPA).
Aroon P. Manoharan is an Associate Professor and Director in the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston. His research focuses on e-government, strategic planning, performance measurement and reporting, public management, and global comparative public administration. He holds a PhD from Rutgers University, Newark, and an MPA from Kansas State University.
Sean Mossey & Aroon P. Manoharan (2017): Seasteads and E-Democracy: The Potential of Mobile Technology, in: Victor Tiberius (Ed.): Seasteads. Opportunities and Challenges for Small New Societies, Zurich (vdf), pp. 81-90.