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Form-ing governance

Paul Beynon-Davies (Cardiff University)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 16 March 2015



This paper aims to examine the central place of the list and the associated concept of an identifier within the “scaffolding” of contemporary government order.


These terms are deliberately chosen to make strange and help unpack the constitutive capacity of information systems and information technology within and between contemporary government agencies. We draw upon the substantial body of work by John Searle to help understand the place of lists in the constitution of the order of governance.


To enable us to ground our discussion of the potentiality and problematic associated with lists, we describe a significant and modern instance of list-making, situated around the issue of digital identity management.


The theoretical framework discussed allows us to better explain breakdowns in the institutional order characteristic of this domain.



Part of the material in this paper was presented as a conference paper (The enactment of personal identity) at the European Conference on Information Systems, Helsinki, 2001.


Beynon-Davies, P. (2015), " Form-ing governance", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 126-135.



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