Photo of Helena Iacobaeus

Helena Iacobaeus

PhD student

Society is becoming increasingly digitized, and that changes our perceptions of what a citizen needs in order to be able to be active in civic life. My thesis is about digital exclusion and how it relates to social exclusion in a broader sense.

Democracy and digital exclusion

A digital society means increased freedom of choice in many aspects of life, but it also requires new skills from the citizen in order to take advantage of the opportunities.

Digital exclusion

Today, about half a million Swedes never use the internet and over half of the age group from 76 years and above do not use the internet to access public information or information about medicine and health. Those who rarely use the internet feel significantly less involved in the digital society. What does this mean for their experience of inclusion in society? I study digital inclusion based on case studies of how front-line public servants, so-called street-level bureaucrats, view their room for manoeuvre and their roles in working for digital inclusion of citizens. To give a broader picture, I study and compare street-level bureaucrats from several different parts of the public sector, including schools, healthcare and libraries.

The libraries’ work to breach the digital divide

Currently, I am studying the roles and strategies of library staff in their work to reduce citizens' digital exclusion. Among the tasks assigned to the public libraries in Sweden are that they should work for digitalization and democratic development of society, as well as making knowledge available and possible to grasp for the entire population regardless of differences in resources, background and place of residence.

The Academic Ceremony

I am also LiU’s Grand Marshall which means that I am responsible for the annual Academic Ceremony.



Helena Iacobaeus (2023) The Digital Cage Dilemma: How Street-Level Bureaucrats at Public Libraries are a Key for Digital Inclusion 22nd IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference, EGOV 2023, Budapest, Hungary, September 5–7, 2023, Proceedings, p. 64-79 Continue to DOI
Elin Wihlborg, Helena Iacobaeus (2023) Context matters-different entrepreneurial approaches among street‐level bureaucrats enhancing digital inclusion European Policy Analysis, Vol. 9, p. 379-396 Continue to DOI


Philippa Barnes, Helena Iacobaeus (2022) Institutional Collaboration for Developing Local Democracy: A Literature Review
Ahmed Kaharevic, Helena Iacobaeus, Mariana S. Gustafsson (2022) Ideology and technology mediated participation: Digital citizenship ideals in the Swedish welfare state


Helena Iacobaeus (2021) Conducting Municipal Council Meetings with Social Distance

Academic celebration