Bits and Atoms
Fig. 1. Bits and Atoms. Courtesy of Oxford University Press, 2014.

Oxford University Press published a new book titled "Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood" edited by Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop.

Publication Data

Livingston, Steven & Walter-Drop, Gregor (Eds.). Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood. Oxford University Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-19-994161-2.


Bits and Atoms explores the governance potential found in the explosive growth of digital information and communication technology in areas of limited statehood. Today, places with weak or altogether missing state institutions are tied internally and to the larger world by widely available digital technology. The chapters in the book explore questions of when and if the growth in digital technology can fill some of the governance vacuum created by the absence of an effective state. For example, mobile money could fill a gap in traditional banking or mobile phones could allow rural populations to pay for basic services and receive much needed advice and market pricing information. Yet, as potentially revolutionary as this technology can be to areas of limited statehood, it still faces limitations. Bits and Atoms is a thought-provoking look at the prospects for and limitations of digital technology to function in place of traditional state apparatuses.

Table of Contents

Foreward by Sina Odugbemi
Chapter 1: Introduction by Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop
Part 1: Simulation, Consolidation, Opposition: ICT and Limited Statehood
Chapter 2: Information Technology and the Limited States of the Arab Spring by Muzammil M. Hussain and Philip N. Howard
Chapter 3: The Kremlin's Cameras and Virtual Potemkin Villages: ICT and the Construction of Statehood by Gregory Asmolov
Chapter 4: E-government as a Means of Development in India by J. P. Singh
Chapter 5: ICT and Accountability in Areas of Limited Statehood by Joseph Siegle
Part 2: Substitution: ICT as a Tool for Non-State Governance
Chapter 6: FrontlineSMS, Mobile-for-Development and the 'Long Tail' of Governance by Sharath Srinivasan
Chapter 7: Natural Disasters and Alternative Modes of Governance: the Role of Social Networks and Crowdsourcing Platforms in Russia by Gregory Asmolov
Chapter 8: Mapping Kibera. Empowering Slum Residents by ICT by Primoz Kovacic and Jamie Lundine
Chapter 9: Crisis Mapping in Areas of Limited Statehood by Patrick Meier
Chapter 10: From Crowdsourcing to Crowdseeding: The Cutting Edge of Empowerment? by Peter van der Windt
Chapter 11: Conclusions by Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop

About the Authors

Steven Livingston is Professor of Media and Public and International Affairs at the School of Public Affairs & Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, and he is the author of When The Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Chicago, 2007), Clarifying the CNN Effect (Harvard, 1997), Terrorism Spectacle (Westview, 1994). 

Gregor Walter-Drop is the Managing Director of the Collaborative Research Center at the Freie Universitat Berlin.

To order the book online visit the Oxford University Press website.