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WhatsApp government: on technology, legitimacy and the performance of roles

White, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-4668-698X (2023) WhatsApp government: on technology, legitimacy and the performance of roles. Journal of Politics. ISSN 0022-3816 (In Press)

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Mobile instant messaging is widely used in governing circles today. This paper considers the implications for political legitimacy, examining how far the technology encourages those in authority to act consistently with the obligations that come with their roles. It looks at several recent political scandals in which office-holders are alleged to have transgressed public norms with their use of instant messaging. It goes on to argue the concerns raised are well grounded, as the affordances of the technology point to personalised, informal and untransparent modes of rule. As the final section argues, that figures in public authority embrace the technology despite the scandals it can yield tells us something important about their political priorities, in particular their willingness to prize output over procedural legitimacy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 University of Chicago Press
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: T Technology
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2023 09:15
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2024 10:06

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