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The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and DemocracyInformation Technology and Political Islam$
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Philip N. Howard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736416

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736416.001.0001

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Lineages of the Digital State

Lineages of the Digital State

(p.57) Chapter 2 Lineages of the Digital State
The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

Philip N. Howard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses two important questions: Which governments are online? What is the relative capacity of their information infrastructure? There are many aspects to the information society, and the chapter reviews the e-government literature relevant to Muslim countries. It traces the recent history of technology adoption by Muslim governments and presents some unique data—collected by the World Information Access project and the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam—which allows for the comparison of wired states. It is shown that there is a surprising amount of dependency in the global information society, with much of the information infrastructure of Muslim countries actually residing in advanced democracies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. While information technologies seem to be at the heart of newfound efficiency, transparency, and accountability in emerging democracies, pursuing economic benefits and extending state capacity have forced even the most authoritarian states to make policy trade-offs that create the conditions for transparency and accountability.

Keywords:   information technologies, communication technologies, information infrastructure, Muslim countries, e-government

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