A contemporary look at ICT4D literature. Not a critical view, but rather a presentational one.
Digital leisure for development: reframing new media practice in the global South
Arora and Rangaswamy’s (2013) paper is actually a call for bridging new media with communication development. In doing so, rethinking leisure-oriented behaviours in the global South is central. The authors understand ICTs as core tools of development, but also as much more than that. They argue that ICTs globally are primarily social artefacts and secondarily development tools. Yet in global South, they are nothing more than mere development helpers with limited alternative possibilities. Therefore, the authors argue, a more inclusive understanding of ICTs in a poverty context is more than necessary if sustainable results are to be achieved. More in detail, the authors suggest:
- the need to understand the poor and marginalised as typical users of ICTs that are active in every aspect of the offered technologies (i.e. from porn to microcredit).
- respect them as active agents rather than passive recipients of development and technology and to be ready to discuss and embrace the numerous outcomes of such an ICT4D implementation.
- to identify technology for what is able to enable.
Drive-By Wi-Fi and Digital Storytelling: Development and Co-creation
Tacchi et al. (2014) discuss co-creation and participation in two examples of ICT4D implementation. Each example focuses on a different outcome and follows a distinct approach in order to reach it. On one hand, Finding a Voice (FaV) focuses on the marginalised as producers and consumers of knowledge. Fav relies on a Human Development and Capability (HDC) approach. On the other, Daknet focuses on the role of enterprises on alleviating poverty in close connection to Prahalad’s Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) concept.
In both cases, co-creation is happening, yet co-creation of a different type. Regarding Fav, co-creation occurs with community participation. In the case of Daknet, co-creation happens in the identification of new needs and the availability of new products in rural and remote areas.
The authors argue that BoP targets to poverty eradication by transforming the marginalised to conscious consumers, while HDC to expand what people are able to do or be. Therefore, co-creation happens in every case, yet the goals and outcomes of development are different. In general, HDC discusses human rights, while BoP rights to consume, or else the debate is between (p.8):
Active, Informed and Involved Consumers vs. Active, Informed, and Involved Citizens
These are the two picks for this edition of ‘A look at contemporary ICT4D literature’. Stay tuned for more!