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Bottom-up initiatives and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption

Project description

Shedding light on the role of technology in tackling corruption

Emerging technologies, employed from the bottom up by civil society organisations, are helping to fight against corruption. The EU-funded BIT-ACT project will investigate anti-corruption technologies (ACTs) and study how civil society organisations engage with them to fight corruption. It will also assess the way ACTs enable intersections between bottom-up and top-down efforts and how they blend with the transnational dimension against corruption. The project’s work will uncover the impact of ACTs on the relationship between citizens and democratic institutions, providing key stakeholders with information on how to best use them from the bottom up. It will also contribute to the debate on anti-corruption with grounded concepts and models to explain ACTs.


Corruption is a global challenge that affects the lives of millions of citizens. In the past decade, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become indispensable tools in the fight to reduce corruption, especially when employed from the bottom-up by civil society organizations. While pioneering initiatives in this direction have flourished, to date we only have unsystematic and descriptive evidence regarding how they work and the associated consequences. With the objective of significantly advancing knowledge on this topic, BIT-ACT will open a new line of inquiry by investigating what I call anti-corruption technologies (ACTs) to: (1) assess how civil society organizations engage with ACTs to counter corruption, (2) appraise how ACTs enable intersections between bottom-up and top-down efforts against corruption, and (3) evaluate how ACTs blend with the transnational dimension in the struggle against corruption. Based on an interdisciplinary framework that combines corruption studies, science and technology studies and social movement studies, BIT-ACT will use the constructivist grounded theory method to analyze a combination of textual and visual data in a comparative and transnational research design including nine countries – Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Estonia, India, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay. BIT-ACT will be groundbreaking in three ways. At the theoretical level, it will expand the debate on anti-corruption providing grounded concepts and models to explain ACTs; at the empirical level, it will advance knowledge on how the usage of ACTs is changing the relationship between citizens and democratic institutions; at the methodological level, it will innovate in the use of grounded theory assessing a new standard for cross-national comparative grounded theory. Finally, BIT-ACT will produce sound and useful knowledge for the stakeholders involved in the fight against corruption worldwide by suggesting how to best employ ICTs from the bottom-up.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 489 115,00
Via zamboni 33
40126 Bologna

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Nord-Est Emilia-Romagna Bologna
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)