Do new technologies help us curb or facilitate corruption? Call for Papers

The everyday use of new technologies entangles with both corruption practices and anti-corruption efforts. One strand of research argues that new technologies help us curb corruption, for example by empowering citizens’ monitoring capacity and facilitating grassroots anti-corruption initiatives. Another strand of research shows that digital media can support corruption and related illegal activities by facilitating the expansion of fake news and propaganda, the misuse of personal data by tech giants or the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering activities. CSC Lecturer in Corruption Analysis Dr Roxana Bratu explains how these issues will be explored in an upcoming ECPR joint session.

In the contemporary context of rapidly changing technological environment there is a distinct need to understand what corruption means, how it is manifested and practiced by various actors and what are the best policies to tackle it. We explore this issue in an ECPR joint session: Digital Media, Machine Learning, and Corruption: How the Newest Technological Development Facilitate and Curb Corruption Practices Across the World held online 25-28 May 2021. The workshop is chaired by Dr Alice Mattoni (University of Bologna) and Dr Roxana Bratu (University of Sussex).

This workshop aims to develop a nuanced understanding of how digital media, machine learning, and other types of recent technological developments can simultaneously support anti-corruption efforts and corruption practices. We bring together two strands of research (one regarding how technology can support and the other regarding how technology can subvert anti-corruption policies and practices) and invite papers linked (but not limited) to one or more of the following questions:    

  • Which are the methodological challenges of studying digital media, machine learning, and other types of recent technological developments in the framework of corruption and anti-corruption?   
  • What are the challenges anti-corruption activists face when developing their own digital media platforms, machine learning algorithms, and other technological supports to counter corruption?  
  • Which types of new challenges civil society actors, governmental agencies, and international organizations face due to the emergent forms of technologically mediated corruption?  
  • Which are the technological imaginaries that anti-corruption activists, governmental agencies, and international organizations develop about digital media, machine learning, and other types of recent technological developments?   
  • How do the most recent technological developments change their role according to the specific anti-corruption and/or corruption country context in which they are employed?  
  • How the use of digital media, machine learning, and other types of recent technological developments can change patterns of corruption and/or anti-corruption efforts?   
  • How can digital media employment, machine learning, and other types of recent technological developments in the framework of anti-corruption actions foster reactions in the world of corruption, bringing new developments in corruption practices?  

We invite papers that employ qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods research designs. We welcome papers based on empirical research and are open to submissions based on solid theoretical and methodological reflections on the overall workshop’s topic as well as policy-based contributions.  

For additional details on the workshop outline in the ECPR Joint Sessions webpage.

Papers must be submitted via the ECPR submission platform by February the 8th 2021.

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