New data infrastructures for environmental monitoring in Myanmar: Is digital transparency good for governance?

Jenny E. Goldstein, Hilary Oliva Faxon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The design and use of environmental data infrastructures, including software platforms, sensors, satellite data, mobile phone apps, and digitally generated visual representations, is increasingly inseparable from contemporary environmental governance. Such technologies are often intended to enable data transparency, which in turn is assumed to promote expanded participation in democratic governance. In this article, we investigate how environmental monitoring, as performed through domestic and globalized infrastructures that seek to make digital environmental data open and transparent, is playing out in Myanmar’s forest sector. New data infrastructures are inseparable from the proliferation of non-state actors involved in environmental governance amid the country’s transition from military surveillance state toward more liberal and democratic rule, yet participation is not universal. We argue that actors engage new platforms and tools based on different understandings of the role of increased data transparency in environmental governance, which in turn are structured by historical relations with and within the legacy of the surveillance state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-59
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Data infrastructure
  • Myanmar
  • environmental governance
  • forests
  • transparency

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