The myths and ceremonies of e-government: the promise of a new and better government in Australia, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands?
The hype around e-government can also be understood in terms of myths. Myths play an important role in policy formulation because they can inspire and convince and thus can stimulate collective action. However, they can also blur our perspective on reality. In such cases people talk about ‘hypes’. In this chapter we look at policy documents regarding the first waves in the establishment of electronic government in Australia, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands. We discuss these documents in terms of myths in order to understand the cleft between the ambitions of these documents and daily reality. Four myths are constructed and discussed: the myth of a new and better government which operates as a single unit, the myth of technological progress, the myth of rational information planning and the myth of the intelligent and empowered consumer.