Inaugural Lecture from Prof. Dr. Vello Pettai
(Honorary Professor of Minority Studies and Comparative Politics, Europa Universität Flensburg Director, European Centre for Minority Issues)
Date: Monday, 30.05.2022, 17:15 Uhr at EUF in Building Helsinki 063
Title: "Minorities and E-Governance"
E-governance is a rapidly evolving interface between public administration and technological change. It involves citizens being able to use different on-line systems in order to take care of governmental or administrative matters. From applying for a fishing permit to submitting a tax declaration or even voting in national elections, e-governance is revolutionizing the way people relate to the state and politics. Indeed, the use of the word e-governance -- as opposed to e-government -- hints at the ways in which on-line systems are not just facilitating bureaucratic procedures, they are also changing the way we view governing as such.
It is all the more important, therefore, to introduce a minority perspective into this growth of e-governance. The lecture will lay out (in concentric fashion) a range of issues that emerge as we begin to view e-governance through a minorities prism. A first level involves the degree to which digital divides across ethnic groups will impact opportunities to take advantage of e-government tools as such. Secondly, one can examine the basic on-line accessibility of e-government resources (official websites, portals, etc.) in minority languages. Thirdly, public surveys can be conducted among minorities about the frequency of their use of e-government services (as opposed to majorities). Lastly, one can inquire into whether e-governance helps to improve the societal integration of minorities as well as satisfaction with government among minority citizens. How much can or will e-governance change minority issues moving forward?
In addition to this conceptual discussion, the lecture will draw on examples as well as survey data from Estonia -- a country renowned for its pioneering steps toward e-governance, but also home to a large Russian-speaking minority.
Prof. Dr. Vello Pettai is Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg. Before coming to the ECMI in March 2020, he was Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Tartu. He has published broadly in the fields of minority studies and comparative politics. He has researched issues such as ethnic democracy and EU conditionality regarding minority issues, while also studying comparative cabinet formation, post-communist transitional justice and electoral politics. The Inaugural Lecture will combine his two overarching foci in order to address a new intersection of these phenomena.
A small reception will follow the lecture. Please register at email@example.com