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ICTs and Development, What is Missing?

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  • Rosenberger, Sascha
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    A review of literature indicates that most approaches emphasize bridging the digital divide, an approach focused solely on material gaps. However, the digital divide is perhaps the last of many, preceded by social, educational, economic, knowledge, and motivational divides. This stems from an incomplete assessment of the underlying characteristics of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), which helps to perpetuate positivist approaches to technology deployment between social groups inside countries, as well as between countries. ICT4D is therefore seen as a misnomer that puts undue pressure on developing countries and neglects the responsibilities of actors in developed countries. The application of the notions of freedom, as presented by Sen and Stallman, in the analysis of ICT4D prompts for a more thorough consideration of the characteristics of technology being pushed for use in developing countries. This leads to the conclusion that common ICT4D approaches could reinforce developing countries’ dependence on foreign actors and delay or entirely prevent the development of locally relevant and empowering solutions.

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    Paper provided by Institut fuer Entwicklungsforschung und Entwicklungspolitik, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum in its series IEE Working Papers with number 203.

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    Length: 28 pages
    Date of creation: 2014
    Handle: RePEc:bom:ieewps:203
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    Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr University Bochum, Universitaetsstr. 150, D-44801 Bochum, Germany

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    1. Savita Bailur, 2007. "Using Stakeholder Theory to Analyze Telecenter Projects," Information Technologies and International Development, MIT Press, vol. 3(3), pages 61-80, March.
    2. James, M.J., 2003. "Free software and the digital divide : Opportunities and constraints for developing countries," Other publications TiSEM 1badc6d0-da65-4622-b061-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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