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Seeking Signs of Transparency: Audit, Materiality and Monuments to Active Citizenship in New Delhi

Webb, Martin. 2019. Seeking Signs of Transparency: Audit, Materiality and Monuments to Active Citizenship in New Delhi. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 25(4), pp. 698-720. ISSN 1359-0987 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In New Delhi the Chief Information Commissioner has ordered that municipal councillors should “proactively disclose” details of the amounts spent on public works via Hindi language notice boards displayed in every city ward. As “appropriate” technology designed to reach out to the common people the noticeboards are part of an ongoing technomoral project to develop and democratise citizen engagement with urban governance. An audit of the noticeboards carried out by Information Commission officials and Right to Information activists reveals that many are badly positioned or assembled from inappropriate materials. As such they are judged to be unreliable actants in the project to prefigure a more open and transparent city administration. A focus on the materiality and temporal orientation of the noticeboards however reveals them to be productive in other ways. We come to understand the noticeboards as monuments to earlier projects of active citizenship and as ongoing sites of contest or collaboration between actors concerned with their audit and remediation.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13129

Additional Information:

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Seeking Signs of Transparency: Audit, Materiality and Monuments to Active Citizenship in New Delhi, which will be published in final form at https://rai.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14679655. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Keywords:

India, Delhi, Right to Information, Transparency, Accountability, Materiality, Bureaucracy, Monuments

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology

Dates:

DateEvent
29 May 2018Accepted
27 September 2019Published Online
December 2019Published

Item ID:

26407

Date Deposited:

07 Jun 2019 11:19

Last Modified:

04 Dec 2019 17:43

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/26407

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