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Bits and AtomsInformation and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood$
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Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199941599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199941599.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

The Kremlin’s Cameras and Virtual Potemkin Villages: ICT and the Construction of Statehood

The Kremlin’s Cameras and Virtual Potemkin Villages: ICT and the Construction of Statehood

Chapter:
(p.30) 3 The Kremlin’s Cameras and Virtual Potemkin Villages: ICT and the Construction of Statehood
Source:
Bits and Atoms
Author(s):

Gregory Asmolov

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199941599.003.0003

Analyzing the role of sensors, the chapter explores how information communication technologies (ICTs) are used by state actors to strengthen governance. While ICTs contribute to implementation and enforcement of political decisions, they also play a role in construction of symbolic statehood. Case studies demonstrate the role of web cameras in Russia: monitoring of national projects, post-emergency relief, elections monitoring, and city management. While web cameras increase accountability and provide means for the decisions’ enforcement, deployment of networked sensors also provide means for deception through the symbolic construction of statehood. Web cameras are used for imitating statehood by communicating to the public the illusion of accountability and control. However, citizens’ sensors challenge the symbolic construction that relies on governments’ sensors. While ICT-based construction of statehood provides stability, in the long term increasing dissonance between the two systems of sensors can lead to a clash and the collapse of statehood.

Keywords:   election monitoring, web cameras, Russia

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