Attaching people and technology – between e and government

Document type: Conference Presentations
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Pirjo Elovaara, Christina Mörtberg
Title: Attaching people and technology – between e and government
Conference name: GLIT-conference
Year: 2007
City: Helsingborg
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning (Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad)
School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:,
Language: English
Abstract: In this paper, we will discuss performance of e-government, gender, skills, learning and technology with the use of various stories of the transformation or modernisation process of Swedish public sector.

Swedish public sector is involved in an overwhelming change process aiming towards the strong political hope to create a good service society with information technology. The transformation process is united under the overall concept e-government and it is also characterised as a modernisation process with the use of concepts such as rationalisation, efficiency and effectiveness. This is the grand narrative or the dominating discourse of Swedish society

Another discourse is the silences of employees’ agencies, their participation in the development of services, and also the public sector as a dominating labour market for women. The modernisation or the implementation of IT will probably change the working conditions and practices radically for civil servants. Based on the earlier implementations of IT in the public sector there should be great concerns about how skills, experiences and gender intersect but also how they could and should influence the transformation processes; a process that again seems to be dominated by a technological determinism and a strong belief on IT as a driving force in the modernisation of the public sector.

But as always there also exist other initiatives and stories. One is about a net based higher education study programme and courses in the field of e-government at Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. Very few low-educated women employed in the public sector enrolled in the training although they were the explicit target group and there were articulated hopes about creating e-government training also including the daily practices and experiences of the civil servants. The low number of female students and also women´s absence in the national e-government and IT policies was the starting point for our research project From government to e-government: gender, skills, learning and technology. Women working at various sectors in four municipalities in Blekinge participated in the project between November 2005 and June 2007. In the project we developed and used a repertoire of methods sensitive to everyday practices in order to create space and time for women and their individual and collaborative stories. That is, narratives full of certainties, uncertainties and possibilities.
Subject: Technoscience Studies\General
Keywords: e-government