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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

E-Colonialism - The New Challenge of the 21st Century

E-Colonialism - The New Challenge of the 21st Century
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Author(s): V. S. Venkatesan (University of Western Australia, Australia)and Neetha Nambiar (University of Western Australia, Australia)
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 2
Source title: Information Technology & Organizations: Trends, Issues, Challenges & Solutions
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-066-0.ch208
ISBN13: 9781616921248
EISBN13: 9781466665330


The concept of colonialism entails the exploitation of a weaker country by a stronger one and dates back from the Greek period (Ferro 1997). Colonizers sought resources unavailable at home and, in return, sent colonial administrators, immigrants, and a language, educational system, religion, culture, laws and lifestyle that were not traditional in the colonized country (McPhail 1987). Throughout history colonialism has assumed different forms and was imposed over a range of civilizations, most of which, eventually gained their freedom. But if colonialism, in its narrow definition, came to an end with the defeat of the French in Vietnam or Algeria, of the British in India, or the Dutch in Indonesia, colonial domination has nonetheless survived in one form or another (Fieldhouse 1999). One such manifestation of colonialism is ‘electronic colonialism’ or ‘e-colonialism’. The history of several Asian and African nations attests to the effects of industrial colonialism and highlights the potential for information to become a tool in spawning a new breed of colonialism. Many nations, despite having a high level of education and culture, did not recognise the growth of industrial colonialism. Likewise, the emergence of e-colonialism may not be initially perceivable thus making researchers in this area complacent (Shaw 2000). Previous research on e-colonialism dealt with television and newspapers as media with potential to generate colonialism of the information age (McPhail 1987). The advent of computer-mediated communication technologies: Internet, World Wide Web etc., has added a new twist to past debates on e-colonialism. E-colonialism goes beyond the existing debates on digital divide which concerns the socioeconomic issues emerging from uneven access to technology on a narrowly defined micro level. Extensive media coverage on digital divide may have caused the greater effects of the information revolution to be largely overlooked (Gruenwald 2001). The all-encompassing issue of e-colonialism brings such large-scale concerns to the forefront and throws light on the various implications of the technological revolution – implications that have so far been side stepped in the interest of ‘development’.

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