ICTD2010 (VIII). Meaning and ICTD

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.

Paper Session: Meaning and ICTD

Looking Beyond ‘Information Provision’: The Importance of Being a Kiosk Operator in the Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI) Project, Tamil Nadu, India
Janaki Srinivasan

How has changed the life of the women that operate information kiosks in India?

Information kiosks provide information on agriculture, prices, government services, etc. especially to reduce information asymmetry in the population.

  • Do info kiosks actually end up providing information to everybody in a community? (IIITB, 2005)
  • Does provision of information naturally improved socio-economic conditions? (Gopakumar, 2004)
  • Is information provision the main role player of info kiosks in practice?

This research puts the stress on the last point.

The project focuses on information asymmetry framed as the problem and information provision as the solution. In this framework, ICTs are the tools that enable the solution.

Kiosk operators have many duties and interactions that go beyond mere service provision: interact with other operators, with elected leaders, with residents, bureaucrats, domain experts, and with the Dhan for meetings and training sessions.

At the e-Government level, the kiosk has several objectives such as information provision (schemes, procedures, records) and improving state-vilage resident interactions (transparency, efficiency).

Outcomes for kiosk operators:

  • Seeing the state (and other domains) differently: awareness (schemes, procedures, techniques, who’s who), interaction (frequency, diversity, learning by doing, coping, dealing, negotiating).
  • Being seen by the village differently: status in the community (“girl with the computer”, “girl for certificates”).

Q: So, the research showed that there were a lot of unpredicted consequences/outcomes for kiosk operators, but… what happened with the intended outcomes? A: We found that they were not in conflict and, actually, they were mutually reinforced.

The Social Meaning of ICTs: Patterns of Technology Adoption and Usage in Context
Cynthia Putnam, Beth Kolko

3 rounds survey (2006, 2007, 2008) in four countries in Central Asia to compare Internet users in that region with US Internet users (using for those data from the Pew Internet Life survey).

Two methodology:

  • Technology acceptance model (TAM): external variables determine perceived userfulness and ease of use, that determine attitude, intentions and effective usage.
  • Diffusion of Innovations (DOI): characteristic of the technology, diffusion channels of how technology is communicated, time and social assistance. These issues define 5 characteristics of an innovation: relative advantage, complexity or ease of use, compatibility with existing values, trial-ability and observability.

Data (2008) showed that for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan most of Internet users were innovators and early adopters, while in the US, at that time (PEW data for 2007) there already were many laggards now using the Internet.

Predictors were calculated with income and other variables and the resultant statistic proved to be a good predictor on who would be online in Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan at a specific time. Internet users share demographic similarities when compared to non-users. On the other hand, usage is also pretty similar between countries and within profiles.


Jim Murphy states that there should be much more focus (work) on the context and in the framework where all this technology adoption if framed into.


Information and Communication Technologies and Development (2010)

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.

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)