Afterlives of the Californian Ideology| Negotiating Silicon Valley Ideologies, Contesting “American” Civic Hacking: The Early Civic Hackers in South Korea and Their Struggle

Danbi Yoo


Drawing from interviews and textual analysis of civic hacking in South Korea, I examine how civic hackers attempted to make alternative forms of tech-oriented civic action while reconfiguring their relationship with the global hegemonic discourse of civic hacking. I found that Korean civic hackers’ struggle and desire as precarious IT workers in  hierarchical civic culture, authoritarian politics, and socioeconomic inequalities led them to negotiate American tech culture and contest Silicon Valley entrepreneurialism. I argue that Korean civic hackers rearticulated the dominant narrative of civic tech in Korea away from technology for government efficiency and toward a practice of open and equitable participation through their efforts to make civic hacking democratic. This study contributes to critical inquiries on more citizen-centered technology development evolving outside the West.


civic tech, civic hacking, open government, open data, hackathon, Silicon Valley ideologies

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