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Abstract

An ambition for a democratic information society is providing services that maintain and even enhance citizens’ mastery and control of their life situation. Analyzing public services from a citizen autonomy perspective can indicate where the service and its IT-systems do not support user autonomy. We analyze a public service and discuss it as a sociomaterial entanglement. Based on our data on citizens’ use of a public service we identify a need to distinguish between entanglements and imbrications and suggest the notion of disentangling in order to characterize the way in which the public service advisors help the citizens. From at a design perspective we look for openings for change and improvement. Different types of entanglements need different types of competencies to address them. We make a distinction between entanglement and imbrication to open up a space for change. Finally, we discuss how the notion of disentangling tax issues can support citizen autonomy.

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