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Author Pal, Joyojeet
Title Computers and the promise of development
book jacket
Descript 251 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-04, Section: A, page: 1452
Adviser: AnnaLee Saxenian
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of California, Berkeley, 2008
ICTD, an acronym increasingly common in international development circles, refers to Information and Communications Technologies for Development. Since the mid-1990s, technology projects aimed at human resource development in underserved regions of the developing world have comprised an important portion of development spending. This dissertation explores the origins of interest in technology and regional development to place the current discourse of enthusiasm with technology as a means of poverty alleviation in historical perspective. To approach this question, I look at public computer access projects to evaluate the impacts of such technology deployments, and create a narrative of ideas on technology, specifically computers, that such projects encounter in the field. I use empirical evidence from three projects - the first, a computer center project in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the second, an e-literacy telecenter project in Kerala, India, and last, a computer-aided learning project in public primary schools in Karnataka, India. Despite the initial projections of enthusiasm about computers, many projects like the three studied here did not get the kind of sustained usage from community members, especially adults, as they had expected. This dissertation shows the gap between such stated preferences for computer-related projects in rural areas among local residents and the post-deployment usage, and finds the lack of immediate livelihood relevance is a key impeding factor in technology adoption. The supporting research on narratives about technology documents an environment of great mystique and expectation about the potential of technology to transform lives in rural areas of India. This discourse around technology feeds into the enthusiasm with which such projects are welcomed into communities. In conclusion, this dissertation proposes that the rural enthusiasm about computers is a reflection of an aspirational urban discourse both in India, and in a newly emerging development community worldwide that sees technology as playing an important role in reducing critical gaps in development
School code: 0028
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 70-04A
Subject Economics, General
Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Urban and Regional Planning
Alt Author University of California, Berkeley
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