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A symmetric analysis of the border control information systems for people and trade

By Edgar A. Whitley and Boriana Rukanova


Innovative egovernment systems are increasingly being used to manage border controls for both people and goods. While cross–border passage of travelers and cargo are usually treated separately in research and in practice we bring these together in order to identify similarities and differences. We use the concept of “symmetry” from Actor–Network Theory as our conceptual lens. We apply two types of symmetric analyses. In the first type, we treat both technological and social aspects as equally important. In the second type we analyze border crossing for both people and goods. Our analysis illustrates that in the context of crossing borders these two types of symmetric analysis are meaningful and appropriate. Whilst ANT has been advocated as a means of studying egovernment, few studies have explicitly drawn on the symmetry for such work and our paper contributes to this corpus of research. We illustrate that a number of problems are very similar for both people and good, so practitioners and researchers can benefit from exchanging ideas and practices and by doing so can accelerate egovernment innovation. We suggest that a strict symmetry concerning people/goods does not apply, so the boundaries of these similarities and differences require careful consideration

Topics: HE Transportation and Communications, JF Political institutions (General)
Year: 2008
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Provided by: LSE Research Online
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