::about the workshop:: :: PARTICIPANTS:: :: PAPERS::

WORKSHOP:

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Development: Experiences from Asia

Co-organized by The Communications & New Media Programme

about the workshop:

A workshop on “ICTs & Development”, is scheduled for 24-25 April 2008, at the National University of Singapore, organized in connection with the publication of a special issue of the Sage Journal Science, Technology and Society on “ICTs and Development: Experiences from Asia” guest edited by T T Sreekumar and Milagros Rivera Sanchez. The participants of the workshop will be the authors/experts who will present and review the papers. If all the contributions cannot be included in the special issue, an edited
volume with more papers is also being planned.

ICTD (Information Communication Technologies and Development), has emerged as an interdisciplinary approach to understand the multidimensional impacts of ICT diffusion, resistance and acceptance in developing societies criticizing and challenging the various presumptions of ICT4D approaches apparently implying a unidirectional relationship between ICTs and Development. ICTD raises practical and theoretical questions relating to State-civil society-market relationships and interactions in the domain of ICT based
development interventions.

Deployment of ICTs in Asian rural societies is a process marked by promises, opportunities, ironies and complexities. The volume will bring together articles critically analyzing the impacts of communication technologies including computers, the Internet, radio, TV, mobile phones etc based on research, teaching and outreach related to ICTs and socio-economic development in Asian countries.

The workshop will raise important theoretical and practical questions on the nature, patterns and consequences of ICT expansion in rural Asia. One pertinent question in the context of ICT based development intervention is how State-civil society relationship is redefined. Second question is about the
accuracy of the claims characterizing the emerging rural network society as one that transcends existing social hierarchies. Is it possible that instead of transcending traditions and annihilating social hierarchies ICT projects in rural areas end up creating new micro technocracies in villages with their own logic of hierarchy, domination and subordination? It is also likely that new technocracies are co-opting existing modes of social domination rather than challenging them.

One of the avowed objectives of most of the information innovation projects is to enhance the level of income of the participants. Did the introduction of ICTs create new opportunities for income generation and employment or in certain definite ways improve the existing situation? Has the expansion of ICTs contributed to the enhancement of the capabilities of the participants of the rural network society through improved access to state programmes, Market Initiatives of MNCs or NGO initiatives in the sectors of health and education? Did the ICT expansion contribute to enhance productivity and create non-farm and off farm employment that is crucial for changing income levels?

These questions have to be supplemented with questions relating to increases in capabilities and entitlements. Has the coverage and reach of poverty alleviation programmes, literacy programmes, health care programmes etc increased as result of enhanced use of ICTs? Strategic and technological impacts of ICT expansion are significant from the angle of information innovations as well understanding the dynamics of rural network societies. It will also be interesting to analyze the political and ideological tensions and ironies that mark the evolutionary trajectories of technological innovation for the rural masses in the realm of ICTs.

T T Sreekumar
Milagros Rivera Sanchez

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