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ICT for Development ICT4D: Theoretical Contexts. ICT4D Lecture 2 Tim Unwin. Outline. The value of theory And its relevance to Geography Theoretical contexts: Globalisation and space-time Technology Partnerships IPR and the digital commons Setting annotated bibliographies.

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outline
Outline
  • The value of theory
    • And its relevance to Geography
  • Theoretical contexts:
    • Globalisation and space-time
    • Technology
    • Partnerships
    • IPR and the digital commons
  • Setting annotated bibliographies

Lecture 2

the value of theory i
The Value of Theory (i)
  • This is primarily an academic course
    • Thus differs somewhat from others (such as Fillip’s http://www.knowledgefordevelopment.com/)
    • But the course also has clear practical relevance
  • But what makes it ‘academic’?
    • Critical approach to enquiry
      • Engagement with literatures to shape your own ideas
    • Situated within the disciplinary framework of Geography
    • Designed to shape new ‘knowledges’
      • The key role of intellectual enquiry
    • Thus closely integrated with theory

Lecture 2

the value of theory ii
The Value of Theory (ii)
  • Different kinds of theory for different purposes
    • Theory acts as context and shapes the limits of our intellectual exploration
  • Habermas’s theory of cognitive interests
    • Different types of science
    • Each with its own cognitive interest
    • Highly pertinent to our ‘interests’ on ICT4D
      • Concerns with technical interest
      • How we communicate (his later theory of communicative action)

Lecture 2

summary of implications for ict4d
Summary of implications for ICT4D
  • Technical solutions usually allied with empirical-analytic science
    • Serving the dominant and powerful
  • Historical-hermeneutic science concerned with language and how we communicate
    • Shared communicative competence
  • Critical theory concerned with emancipation
    • Helping people to make the world a better place
  • But are there really three totally different kinds of science, or can we combine elements from all of them?

Lecture 2

ict4d theoretical contexts
ICT4D: theoretical contexts
  • Four particularly pertinent theoretical contexts for the course
    • Globalisation and space-time
    • Technology
    • Partnerships
    • IPR and the Digital Commons

Lecture 2

globalisation
Globalisation
  • ‘Globalisation’ as product:
    • An account of ‘what’ is there?
    • The world has become globalised
  • ‘Globalisation’ as ‘process’
    • Concerned with questions of how?
    • Processes of ‘space-time’ compression
  • But why?
    • In whose interests?
      • Global capital’s needs to increase market and to reduce production costs

Lecture 2

globalisation and ict
Globalisation and ICT
  • ICT as an enabler of globalisation
    • Spreading cultural traits
      • Television and radio
      • Internet
    • ICTs themselves as commodities
      • Labour, raw materials, markets
      • The dot-com economic bubble in 2000
  • But ICTs also enabling local identities
    • The local becoming more visible
    • The ‘anarchic’ dimensions of the Web
  • ICTs as process and products

Lecture 2

technologies
Technologies
  • Science and technology in support of those in power (building on Habermas)
    • ICTs transforming financial markets
    • role of GIS in military hardware and software
  • But there are also those who see technological change as having led to an entirely new kind of society
    • Castell’s (1996) The Information Age
      • Three stages in the use of technology in the late 20th century: (i) The automation of tasks, (ii) an experimentation of uses, (iii) reconfiguration of applications

Lecture 2

technologies castells
Technologies: Castells

“What characterizes the current technological revolution is not the centrality of knowledge and information, but the application of such knowledge and information to knowledge generation and information processing/communication devices, in a cumulative feedback loop between innovation and the uses of innovation” (Castells, 2000, p.31)

“Diffusion of technology endlessly amplifies the power of technology, as it becomes appropriated and redefined by its users” (Castells, 2000, p.31)

“… an over-arching conclusion: as an historical trend, dominant functions and processes in the Information Age are increasingly organized around networks” (Castells, 2000, p.500)

“…information is the key ingredient in our social organization and … flows of messages and images between networks constitute the basic thread of our social structure’ (Castells, 2000, p.508)

Lecture 2

technologies12
Technologies
  • Castells’ work provides a theoretical framework for thinking about technology and information, but
    • Is technological change as significant a shift as he suggests?
      • Are we really in a new paradigm?
      • Is the network society really a qualitative change?
    • Can technologies still be used to the benefit of the poor and marginalised?
      • If so, how?
    • Has humankind really found its liberation from natural forces, as Castells suggests?

Lecture 2

partnerships
Partnerships
  • Global geopolitical changes at the end of the 1980s fundamentally restructured our ways of understanding societies
    • Collapse of the Soviet Union
    • Apparent victory of global capitalism
  • Calls for a Third Way (e.g. Giddens, 1998)
    • Combining public and private sectors
      • But, negative commentary on much public-private partnership for example in the UK
    • Seen as the renewal of social democracy

Lecture 2

partnerships14
Partnerships
  • Partnerships now dominant also in development rhetorics
    • Especially since the late 1990s, and the role of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC)
    • Multi-stakeholder partnerships seen as the optimal way for delivering ICT programmes
    • Partnerships between governments
    • New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD)
  • But these ‘partnerships’ are often not well thought through

Lecture 2

ipr and the digital commons
IPR and the digital commons
  • Enclosure in 17th Century England
    • Converted communal land to individual private property
    • Thereby enabling private profit to replace common shared risk and benefit
    • At the origins of capitalism
  • A tension between private and public benefit and responsibility
    • At the heart of 21st century debate
    • What should be the relationships between the ‘private’ and the ‘public’?
    • “Reclaiming the Commons” campaigns

Lecture 2

ipr and the digital commons16
IPR and the digital commons
  • Application to knowledge and education
    • In early modern times, education was a privilege and had to be paid for
      • Knowledge enabled profit during 16th and 17th century ‘explorations’
    • Second half of the 20th century emergence of free state education systems
      • Knowledge as a free common good
      • For the benefit of society
      • Universities were thus state funded, and generated knowledge that was then made ‘freely’ available
  • Late 20th century, the privatisation of knowledge

Lecture 2

ipr and the digital commons17
IPR and the digital commons
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
    • Long tradition of patents, permitting inventors to benefit from their ideas
    • Long heritage of concern over intellectual rights
      • Hence issues over plagiarism
    • But now IPR is increasingly hotly contested
      • Universities claim to own the IPR of staff and students
    • IPR of indigenous peoples
  • Tensions
    • Universities pay the salaries of staff, and want to gain the benefits for recruitment of students
    • Many staff believe that knowledge should be free

Lecture 2

ipr and the digital commons18
IPR and the Digital Commons
  • Of particular interest in field of ICT4D
    • Internet permits ready access to much information rapidly across the world
    • Who owns or has rights in such information?
    • Possibility of creation of shared knowledges in new ways
    • Who controls access to information
      • Hence concerns about Microsoft’s dominance
    • Digital Commons
      • Open Source alternatives to proprietary software
      • Need to differentiate between software and content

Lecture 2

annotated bibliography assignment
Annotated Bibliography assignment
  • The task
    • Produce an annotated bibliography on a subject of your choice in both digital format and hard copy
      • Title to be confirmed with me by 26th October 2005
    • Containing at least 30 references with c.100 word annotation
    • At least half of references should not be mentioned on course handouts
    • Should do a few every week
    • To be submitted by 7th December 2005
      • Do keep a copy for your own revision!

Lecture 2

annotated bibliography assignment20
Annotated Bibliography assignment
  • The purpose
    • To encourage you to read around the course
    • To enhance your skills at discriminating resources
    • To develop your powers of critical thinking
    • To encourage you to share information amongst the group
  • The outcome
    • All bibliographies graded at 2(i) or above will be disseminated via www.ict4d.org.uk for use by people all over the world
    • Sharing of information amongst the group should lead to enhanced knowledge

Lecture 2

conclusion
Conclusion
  • The importance of theory
  • Four key theoretical contexts:
    • Globalisation and space-time
    • Technology
    • Partnerships
    • IPR and the digital commons
  • These provide the context for our explorations of ICT4D

Lecture 2

opportunity for questions and discussion of seminars and timings
Opportunity for Questions

and discussion of seminars and timings