For the week 2 task of “Open Governance and Learning” I am doing a blog post response to two articles from the course’s recommended readings document: Dan Bevarly’s 2009 article “The difference between Open Government and Open Governance” & James Neil’s 2010 “Going naked – Openism and freedom in academia“. It is supposed to be done by Feb 8th, and while I missed the UTC deadline, I will narrowly make it in before midnight USA Central Time.
M = governMent
OM = Open governMent
N = goverNance
ON = Open goverNance
Open Governance just seems like “Open Government Part II”, even though Bevarly said it was not at the end of his essay. What does M do that N does not? He wrote that OM = “establishing a reliable structure and a capability to provide access to information and communication in a standardize manner across the executive branch.” while ON = “the practice of facilitating individual and group dialog in collaborative exchanges that enables citizens to advance and initiate discussions as well as respond to questions and conversations originated by government.” He simiplifies it by writing “[OM] is opening your home to the general public. [ON] allows them to rearrange the furniture as they see fit.”
But, by definition if you have ON, don’t you also have OM? If people are allowed to re-arrange furniture in your home, then its obviously lready been opened to them.
I see his points regarding whether or not ON is a good idea for the current American federal gov., which I follow, but he seems to be setting M and N up as two different paths, when to me it seems like they’re just part 1 and 2 of the same journey.
Checking the definitions of the two terms on Wiktionary seems to bolster my point, government is “The body with the power to make and/or enforce laws to control a country, land area, people, or organization.” while governance is “The process, or the power, of governing; government or administration.”
Can you see where I am going wrong here?
It seems like the goal of M is to solve the problem, while the goal of N is to get everybody’s opinion on what the problem is and how-to solve it and *then* solve the problem.
The second reading on open academia gives a different example (than the federal gov.) of the difference between M and OM with the goal of ON. The way most universites were orgnaized in the 20th century would be with a closed M. The article is in a way calling for individual academics to lead an effort of open-ness where they create their own standard of ON that can then be co-opted by the institutions. The ON suggestion (that I like, though am timid to actually adopt) is based around the creed of open academia “as an open academic I commit to providing open access to all my academic outputs (teaching, research and service) using open formats, open licensing and free software. I also commit to open management of my academic activities.”
Also expressed in this diagram by darklama.
The Neil article’s ideas about open governance in academia remind me in a way of Alcoholics Anonymous, at least what I’ve read in Infinite Jest and a recent Harper’s article. They have an over-arching body, but each group and individual has to self-police and is welcome so long as they follow the 12 steps. That may be a little too far, but I’d say AA might be an excellent example of open governance in action, after all members “speak/confess” every meeting.
Still though, even after Neil’s article I see open governance as the logical next step after open government. It can be done by the institution after a natural evolution, or it can be forced onto the institution by individuals and small groups implementing it in ways that solve problems/do academia better than the institution.