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Enacting and Interpreting Technology- From Usage to Well-Being: Experiences of Indigenous Peoples with ICTs

Enacting and Interpreting Technology- From Usage to Well-Being: Experiences of Indigenous Peoples with ICTs
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Author(s): Bjöm-Sören Gigler (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 31
Source title: Information Communication Technologies: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Craig Van Slyke (Northern Arizona University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch180

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Abstract

Under which conditions can information and communications technologies (ICTs) enhance the well-being of indigenous communities? This chapter investigates this question, focusing on the role of information and communications technology in promoting indigenous peoples’ development. First, the chapter analyzes key factors under which information and knowledge can be instrumental and substantive for the empowerment of marginalized groups. Hereby, it will be argued that improved informational capabilities, similar to the enhancement of a person’s writing and reading skills, can enhance poor people’s capabilities to make strategic life choices and to achieve the lifestyle they value. The chapter develops an alternative evaluation framework for ICT interventions based on Sen’s capability approach. This framework places, in contrast to the current discourse around the digital divide, the human development of the poor and not technology at the center of the analysis. The chapter concludes that a direct and causal relationship between ICTs and enhanced well-being does not exist, but that in fact this relationship is being shaped by a dynamic, multi-dimensional interrelationship between technology and the social context.

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