The Governmental powers of welfare e-administration

Paul Henman, Mitchell Dean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

49 Downloads (Pure)


Governments are rapidly reconfiguring their activities and services in order to make use of the opportunities provided by the internet and new information and communication technologies (ICTs). This paper draws on Foucault’s account of the various forms of governmental power to dissect and interrogate emerging e-government forms, as evidenced in reforms in welfare policy and administration. While the neo-liberal, neo-conservative and authoritarian character of recent welfare policy has received considerable attention, changes in welfare administration and governance are scarcely analysed. Through one stop shops, joined-up government and individualised service delivery, new ICTs are being enrolled into and entangled with reforms in public administration. This paper examines the way these technologies are transforming the delivery of welfare services and the governance of welfare agencies, staff and subjects. Following Foucault, I examine the extent to which welfare e-administration involves a ‘tricky adjustment between political power wielded over legal subjects and pastoral power wielded over live individuals’. Our analysis draws on case studies of the EDGE decision support system and the Community Connect programs’ extranet site developed by Centrelink. The paper concludes by discussing the governmental tensions evident in the contemporary welfare state.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian Electronic Governance Conference 2004
Subtitle of host publicationconference proceedings
EditorsWinsom Roberts, Peter Chen
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
PublisherDepartment of Political Science, University of Melbourne
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventAustralian Electronic Governance Conference 2004 - Melbourne
Duration: 14 Apr 200415 Apr 2004


ConferenceAustralian Electronic Governance Conference 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'The Governmental powers of welfare e-administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this