Electronic Participation (ePart) Conference

Knowledge as Power on the Internet

In this study we explore how knowledge produced on the Internet can reflect objectivist or subjectivist views. These different views shape participation dynamics in the knowledge production process in ways that are bound up with power. To explore these issues, we conducted a comparative case study of websites under the Development Gateway, an initiative launched by the World Bank in 2001. We examined how objective knowledge is associated with tightly controlled processes of knowledge production dominated by an elite that limits electronic participation, while subjective knowledge is associated with processes characterized by more inclusiveness, polyvocality and (qualified) egalitarianism.