ICTD2010 (II). How can ICT research better inform and communicate theories of development and globalization? New challenges and promising directions

Notes from the Information and Communication Technolgies and Development — ICTD2010, held at the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK, on December 13-16, 2010. More notes on this event: ictd2010.

James Murphy (Clark University) and Pádraig Carmody (Trinity College Dublin)
How can ICT research better inform and communicate theories of development and globalization? New challenges and promising directions

  • How can we conceptualize the impact of ICT on the relationsihps between palces in the world system?

  • How can studies of ICT use an d impact better inform theoretical explanations for uneven development and between places?
  • What theoretical frameworks can help us in better understanding what’s going on in the ICT4D discipline?

The session splits in groups to discuss these topics. Here are the main aspects that raised in the groups.

ICT, indigenous rights, and new global inerconnectivities
Moderates: Jenna Burrell

  • What is the place of indigenous knowledge in the context of discussionas around the global “knowledge society”?
  • Cross-cultural encounters via ICT: as connectivity extends, how are these efforts to bridge between North ad South turning out?

Indigenous knowledge is usually understood in time and space, but specifically as something about the past, and that latter understanding of “indigenous” is one that should be eradicated.

Indigenous knowledge has been also localized, closed within small communities that have no contact and no impact with larger ones, with universal knowledge. That is something that should be better understood too.

ICT, the global-local nexus, and the political economy of development in the Global South
Moderates: Janaki Srinivasan

  • Studies of ICT-based development initiatives are often based on what Hart calls “impact model” (Hart 2002). Can we move away of this conception of development?

Development should be depoliticized, in the sense of being separated from political power bargains. That would ease the sustainability / sustainable development factor to step in the agenda.

ICT governance is crucial to understand the dynamics of ICTs and development.

We should also focus at the real impact of huge information flows, and see whether they are really empowering people or, instead, concentrating power in a few people’s hands.

Inclusion
Moderates: Anita Gurumurthy

Can we understand development differently from turning everything into a commodity?

Indeed, with the excuse of “stakeholderism”, many institutions participate in development without the required transparency and accountability.

The technological change is not governed, and there is a need for it to be, so that the impact of that change is precisely in the intended direction.

Collaboration vs. competition.

Importance of capability and competences when talking about an ICT-mediated society or an ICT-fostered change/development.

Inclusion is mostly about local-level decision making, and this is where ICTs should have an important field to act in.

ICT, uneven development, and spatial integration
Moderates: Pádraig Carmody and Jim Murphy

  • How do ICTs reshape geographies of uneven development? How might ICTs contribute to spatial integration and marginalization, both directly and indirectly? Who are the principals actors and drivers and through what channels?
  • How might we better conceptualize the ways in which ICT are, or are not, being absorbed into production, marketing, and innovation systemsw in order to better assess whether they are enabling upgrading and more progressive forms of economic globalization?

How can ICTs change power structures? ICTs can be empowering and disempowering.

Is there an overuse of ICTs?

Who trains an educates in the use of ICTs and capabilities that they require?

Information and Communication Technologies and Development (2010)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “ICTD2010 (II). How can ICT research better inform and communicate theories of development and globalization? New challenges and promising directions” In ICTlogy, #87, December 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=3638

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5 Comments to “ICTD2010 (II). How can ICT research better inform and communicate theories of development and globalization? New challenges and promising directions” »

  1. Hi Ismael!

    Thank you very much for posting your notes! It gives an insight into the discussion at the conference for those who cannot attend.

    I am curious about the following line in the “inclusion” section: “The technological change is not governed, and there is a need for it to be, so that the impact of that change is precisely in the intended direction.”

    Would it be too much trouble to elaborate on what was said on that point?

    Thank you!
    Dima

  2. Dear Dima,

    Thanks for the compliment. These are, though, pesonal notes, not verbatim reproduction of what was said, so handle them with care ;)

    About governing technological change.

    The idea behind this short sentence is that there is the feeling that technology seems to have a life on its own. Devices are developed and then appropriated in different ways. Some of these appropriations are harmful and could have been foreseen in advance.

    So, the group that came up with the idea suggested that technology was not neutral and, thus, that its development should follow a thorough strategy with social aims, instead of being freely developed in an emergent way, with only economical goals, etc.

    Mind that it was not about “controlling” the development of technology, but only about reflecting on its potential or likely impacts when designing new technologies or applications of such technologies.

    Net Neutrality, Freedom of the Net, etc. were associated concepts that came up during the discussion too, which should provide a better context within where that sentence was said.

  3. Thank you, Ismael!

    I wonder if there is planned to be a written outcome from these discussions? I am just feeling that details of what was said matter as on the general level, many of these ideas have been voiced in the past.

    Thanks again!
    Dima

  4. Check the website: there’s lots of information there and links to papers and posters (or they will). I got them anyway. Drop me a line and I’ll send to you whatever you may need.

    And yes, the details are as rich as the general discussion :)

  5. Thanks! There are no links to the papers (yet?) on the website. I will revisit it later.

    I’ll drop you an email. Thank you!

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