Archon Fung

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Archon Fung
Born (1968-04-06) 6 April 1968 (age 49)
Nationality American
Institution Harvard University
Field Transparency in public and private governance
Alma mater MIT
Awards National Science Foundation Training Fellowship in Democratization

Archon Fung (born 6 April 1968),[1] is the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and co-founder of the Transparency Policy Project. Fung served as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School from July 1999-June 2004, then as an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School from July 2004-October 2007, and finally as a Professor of Public Policy from October 2007-March 2009 before being named as the Ford Foundation Chair of Democracy and Citizenship in March 2009.

Fung has authored five books, three edited collections, and over fifty articles appearing in journals including American Political Science Review, Public Administration Review, Political Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, Politics and Society, Governance, Journal of Policy and Management, Environmental Management, American Behavioral Scientist, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Boston Review.


Fung received his undergraduate and graduate education at MIT, where he gained two Bachelor of Science degrees in Philosophy and Physics in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1999.

Major works[edit]

Fung's dissertation looked at the impact of the participatory involvement of Chicago’s residents, police officers, teachers, and community groups to reform education. This research was published in Fung’s first book Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy in 2004.[2][3]

Fung's research was unprecedented for the in-depth approach it took to understanding local governance as both an examination of a specific case but also as a model for understanding urban participatory democracy.[4] Empowered Participation is exemplary of Fung’s work: innovative and uniting rigorous empirical analysis with an equally strong foundation in theory.[5] The book detailed Fung’s concept of accountable autonomy.

Fung’s work has continued in this trajectory of sitting at the cutting edge of policy and theory with his second book Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency, co-authored with Mary Graham and David Weil in 2007.[6] Full Disclosure examines transparency as a regulatory tool for protecting the public interest through the lens of eighteen major policies, including those designed to improve car safety and restaurant hygiene. This work introduces the notion of targeted transparency - where the disclosure of information serves to bridge a gap in knowledge that otherwise contributes to public risk or service failures. The theoretical underpinning of targeted transparency is the “Transparency Action Cycle" whereby disclosers provide information to the public in a format that responds to users' will and capacity to process and use that information at the point of decision-making.

The themes of enabling citizens to be more efficacious within their political system is evident in the other books, projects, and articles Fung has either written or contributed to. These include a 2000 book with Bradley Karkkainen and Charles Sabel entitled Beyond Backyard Environmentalism[7] and Can We Put an End to Sweatshops, a 2001 book written with Dara O’Rourke and Charles Sabel.[8] Additionally, Fung has published numerous articles on these topics ranging from more theoretical pieces such as a 2005 piece in Political Theory entitled “Deliberation Before the Revolution: Toward an Ethics of Deliberative Democracy in an Unjust World”[9] to a 2007 piece appearing in the American Political Science Review entitled “Democratic Theory and Political Science: A Pragmatic Method of Constructive Engagement” which bridges theory and practice.[10]

Fung is also deeply engaged in current politics, having published a piece for the American Prospect in May 2010, entitled a “Tea Party for Obama.”[11] Additionally, Fung serves on the national advisory board of AmericaSpeaks and is a consultant for various organizations including the Open Society Institute and the World Bank.

As an indicator of Fung’s personal and professional commitment to the ideals of transparency he has published a “Conflict Statement” on his personal website, which outlines his engagement with outside organizations. “First, as someone who seeks to understand the worlds of democratic reform and public policy, it is important to see things from the perspective of practitioners which is very different from the perspective of scholars. Working closely with practitioners is one way — the best way I know of — to gain that understanding.”

Current research[edit]

Fung’s current research focuses broadly on the realms of transparency in public and private governance as well as participatory democracy with a focus on deliberative forms of governance. Current projects examine democratic reform initiatives in electoral reform, urban planning, public services, ecosystem management, and transnational governance. His most recent research looks at the role of technology within the area of transparency and governance.

In September 2009, Fung launched Participedia, a website developed with Mark Warren of the University of British Columbia, aimed at strengthening democracy with its user-generated library of examples and methods of participatory governance, public deliberation, and collaborative public action.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "Fung, Archon, 1968-". Library of Congress. Retrieved 5 November 2014. data sheet (b. 04-06-68) 
  2. ^ "Professor Archon Fung Launches Participedia". 
  3. ^ Fung, Archon (2004). Empowered participation reinventing urban democracy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400835638. 
  4. ^ Fung, Archon; Wright, Erik Olin (2003). Deepening democracy: institutional innovations in empowered participatory governance. London New York: Verso. ISBN 9781859844663. 
  5. ^ Fung, Archon (2004). Empowered participation reinventing urban democracy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691126081. 
  6. ^ Fung, Archon; Graham, Mary; Weil, David (2007). Full disclosure : the perils and promise of transparency. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521699617. 
  7. ^ Fung, Archon; Sabel, Charles; Karkkainen, Bradley (2000). Beyond backyard environmentalism. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807004456. 
  8. ^ Fung, Archon; Sabel, Charles; O'Rourke, Dara (2001). Can we put an end to sweatshops. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807047156. 
  9. ^ Fung, Archon (June 2005). "Deliberation before the revolution: toward an ethics of deliberative democracy in an unjust world". Political Theory. Sage. 33 (3): 397–419. doi:10.1177/0090591704271990. 
  10. ^ Fung, Archon (August 2007). "Democratic theory and political science: a pragmatic method of constructive engagement". American Political Science Review. Cambridge Journals. 101 (3): 443–458. doi:10.1017/S000305540707030X.  Pdf version.
  11. ^ Fung, Archon (27 March 2010). "A tea party for Obama". The American Prospect. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 

External links[edit]