Public Ph.D. Defence of Inan Izci, METROPOLITAN GOVERNANCE IN DIGITAL AGE: The EU's Influence on Local Governing of Istanbul

Tuesday 02 March 2021, 15:00 to 17:00

METROPOLITAN GOVERNANCE IN DIGITAL AGE: The EU's Influence on Local Governing of Istanbul

The public defense of Inan Izci will take place on 2 March from 15:00 - 17:00 CET in an online format.

Please click this link to register for the online defense on 02/03/2021.

Upon registration you will receive an automated link from Zoom to attend the defense and in the invitation a separate link is included to the digital reception as well.


As an international actor, the European Union (EU) is a relevant and significant actor in everyday life of people across the borders. Officially, Turkey has been a candidate country for the EU since 1999. Also, the country is a voluntary partner of EU e-government policy initiative. Therefore, there is a range of reasons for the EU have influence in digitalisation of institutional governing at local level. Accordingly, this research’s principal aim was to look at whether the EU mattered in the municipal use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in everyday governing processes when interacting with the citizens of Istanbul. Adopting an interdisciplinary transnational political sociology, it examined whether any EU influence played part in the formation of current ICT-enabled metropolitan governance system.

Relying on a qualitative case study and multi-method triangulation, it was found out that the EU was indeed a relevant and significant f/actor at everyday governing in Istanbul. It triggered the domestic reforms through the membership conditionality which led to the restructuring of municipal-citizen relationships. During this diffusion process, the EU provided the institutional elements and instruments for the domestic actors to embed the democratic governance principles into administrative and fiscal institutional norms, mechanisms and rules. Over time, the effects of the Reform process entangled with the digitalisation of municipal governing mode and practices. Currently, it was found out that the prevailing ICT-enabled municipal governing mode and practices greatly resemble with the vision and objectives of the EU’s e-government policy.

Overall, based on the empirical observations, it was possible to identify a backdoor, complex and joined-up local Europeanisation at the ICT-enabled municipal governing practices in Istanbul. As result, the ICT-enabled governing practices and citizen interactions became closer to the democratic governance vision promoted by the EU. Despite the recent divergence from the EU path, the effects of the Reform ‘spilled over’ to digitalisation processes and created ‘locked-in’ effects for furthering local democratization through the diffusion of administrative and fiscal rules. It came out from the study that the EU can support everyday digital acts of citizenship through the promotion of democratic governance and e-government policy diffusion which may then pave the way for democratization at grassroot level.


14:55: Room 'opens'
15:00: Welcome by the Chair, Prof. Trisha Meyer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
15:05: PhD presentation
15:25: PhD defense
- Prof. Delfina Soares, United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV)
- Prof. Em. Matthias Finger, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
- Prof. Philippe De Lombaerde, United Nations University on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)
- Prof. Leo Van Audenhove, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Q&A with audience
16-15: Deliberation
16.25: Conferment of degree
16.35: Speeches by Prof. Jamal Shahin, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (supervisor) & Prof. Ayhan Kaya, Istanbul Bilgi University (co-supervisor)
16.45: Speech by Inan Izci
16.55: Thank you & closure
17.00: Reception, separate Zoom room (check registration confirmation)