Localizing Digitalization: New State Spaces and Local Resistances

  • Jannick Schou
  • Morten Hjelholt


This chapter investigates the outcomes and consequences of national digitalization policies within local public sector institutions. Zooming in on citizen service centres, the municipal institutions primarily responsible for helping citizens use the digital platforms mandated by the Danish state, the chapter explores how this state space has changed due to digitalization efforts. Based on qualitative interviews in seven municipalities, the chapter showcases how new functions, roles and logics have emerged within these local institutions. It argues that citizen service centres have increasingly become disciplinary spaces concerned with turning non-digital individuals into digital beings. At the same time, the chapter also highlights the new counter-hegemonies that may be forming within the state itself, as welfare state professionals both deconstruct and circumvent the official policy visions in their daily work practices. Taken together, the chapter provides insights into the institutional consequences of national digitalization efforts on the ground.


Citizen service centres Denmark State spaces Institutional changes Localization 


  1. Andersen, N. Å., & Pors, J. (2016). Public Management in Transition: The Orchestration of Potentiality. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bourdieu, P. (2005). The Social Structures of the Economy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brenner, N. (2004). New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Henriksen, H. Z. (2015). Scrutinizing Open Government Data to Understand Patterns in eGovernment Uptake. In E. Tambouris, M. Janssen, H. Scholl, M. A. Wimmer, K. Tarabanis, M. Gascó, B. Klievink, I. Lindgren, & P. Parycek (Eds.), International Federation for Information Processing (pp. 144–155). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Hjelholt, M., & Schou, J. (2017a). Digital Lifestyles Between Solidarity, Discipline and Neoliberalism: On the Historical Transformations of the Danish IT Political Field from 1994 to 2016. TripleC, 15(1), 370–389.Google Scholar
  6. Hjelholt, M., & Schou, J. (2017b). Den digitale borger. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag.Google Scholar
  7. Jæger, B., & Löfgren, K. (2010). The History of the Future: Changes in Danish E-Government Strategies 1994–2010. Information Polity, 15(4), 253–269.Google Scholar
  8. Jessop, B. (2002). The Future of the Capitalist State. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Jones, M. (1997). Spatial Selectivity of the State? The Regulationist Enigma and Local Struggles over Economic Governance. Environment and Planning A, 29, 831–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pors, A. (2015a). Digital forvaltning i det borgernære bureaukrati. Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, 117, 617–643.Google Scholar
  11. Pors, A. (2015b). Becoming Digital: Passages to Service in the Digitized Bureaucracy. Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 4(2), 177–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rigsrevisionen. (2016). Beretning til Statsrevisorerne om besparelsespotentialet ved obligatorisk Digital Post på ca. 1 mia. kr. om året. Google Scholar
  13. Schou, J., & Hjelholt, M. (2017). The Digital Outcasts: Producing Marginality in the Digital Welfare State. Working Paper for 15th ESPANet Annual Conference 2017: New Horizons of European Social Policy: Risks, Opportunities and Challenge: Lisbon.Google Scholar
  14. Sum, N.-L., & Jessop, B. (2013). Towards a Cultural Political Economy: Putting Culture in Its Place in Political Economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jannick Schou
    • 1
  • Morten Hjelholt
    • 1
  1. 1.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations