Seeing people in the computer: The role of information technology in remote employment services

Seeing people in the computer: The role of information technology in remote employment services Journal Article

Australian Journal of Social Issues

  • Author(s): Fowkes, Lisa
  • Published: 2019
  • Volume: n/a
  • ISBN: 0157-6321

Abstract: Information technologies have been important in the emergence of new forms of control and surveillance of welfare recipients and of those who administer labour market programmes. These technologies have often appeared at the margins of accounts of welfare reform, for example as means of increasing the efficiency or consistency of services, or as constraining frontline discretion. Henman has argued, however, that information technologies need to be analysed not just as administrative tools, but as “non-human actors,” shaping policy development and implementation in ways beyond the intentions of their human creators (Henman, Governing Electronically: E-government and the Reconfiguration of Public Administration, Policy and Power, Palgrave MacMillan). This paper explores the way that the use of government information systems has shaped employment services in remote Australia where over 80 per cent of those included are Indigenous people. The article describes how the production and use of administrative data within employment services have supported and extended the framing of Indigenous people in remote communities as non-compliant and as needing external direction.

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Suggested Citation
Fowkes, Lisa, 2019, Seeing people in the computer: The role of information technology in remote employment services, Volume:n/a, Journal Article, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=16391.

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