The development of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) has transformed the world over the last two decades. These technologies are often seen as being inherently ‘good’, with the ability to make the world better, and in particular to reduce poverty. However, their darker side is frequently ignored in such accounts. ICTs undoubtedly have the potential to reduce poverty, for example by enhancing education, health delivery, rural development, and entrepreneurship across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, all too often, projects designed to do so fail to go to scale, and are unsustainable when donor funding ceases. Indeed, ICTs have actually dramatically increased inequality across the world. Those with access to the latest technologies and the ability to use them effectively can indeed transform their lives, but those who are left without access have become increasingly disadvantaged and marginalized. The central purpose of this book is to account for why this is so, and it does so primarily by laying bare the interests that have underlain the dramatic expansion of ICTs in recent years. Unless these are fully understood, it will not be possible to reclaim the use of these technologies to empower the world’s poorest and most marginalized. The book is grounded in the Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas, drawing especially on his notions of knowledge constitutive interests, and a particular conceptualization of the relationship between theory and practice. The book espouses the view that development is not just about economic growth, but must also address questions of inequality.

Parent Database : Oxford Scholarship ebook (ICT4D)

DOI : 10.1093/oso/9780198795292.001.0001

ISSN :

ISBN : 9780198795292