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Welcome to the NM5207 ICTs and Development LibGuide.
NM5207 critically examines the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in shaping economic transformation and enhancing development communication in the context of developing countries from a comparative perspective. It addresses important concerns such as poverty, gender, social exclusion, digital divide, governance, development policy etc. in a multidisciplinary perspective of political economy, development communication and economic sociology.
ICTs and Development (ICT & D) has emerged as an important area of research in its own right with thoughtful policy implications concerning both technology processes and development options. It is a perspective that helps understand the ambivalences, political implications and ironies of the notion of ICT led development. It does not postulate a unidirectional relationship between technology and development. On the other hand, the ICT4D (Information and communication technologies for development) approach maintains that developing societies would be to be able to overcome decades of lagged development and economic backwardness if they positioned themselves strategically in a technological regime that leveraged ICTs and promoted ICT based innovations. The idea of “leap frog”, a notion that sums up the euphoria generated by ICTs, provides the backdrop for understanding the nature of relationship between ICTs and development in the ICT4D literature.
The changes in the technological assemblage of ICTs in the last decade have necessitated a new look at the question of ICT innovation processes and their impacts on development. Leap frog model has remained largely idealistic and devoid of empirical examples to corroborate its historical validity. At the same time, several advances in some areas of new media technologies have been ground-breaking. The incremental innovations in these spheres have integrated hitherto quiescent areas of the developing world into a global network society enabling them to share some of the new opportunities opened up by the emerging globalist economy.
The key to the understanding of the complex set of issues in the domain of ICT & D is a perspective that helps place them in the context of a theoretical position that views innovation as primarily social rather than technical. This module highlights the view that the question of ICT & D cannot be discussed in isolation from a range of political economy issues such as the changing nature of technology transfer, division of international labor, emerging patent regimes, spatial dynamics of clusters, cities and circulation of capital. Equally important is to place the question in the local cultural and social milieu where some of the ICT innovations are greatly impacted.
At the end of the programme, the module would provide students with
•a critical and analytic knowledge of processes and patterns of economic development in the contexts of targeted deployment of ICTs
•skills and knowledge related to planning and implementation of ICT based development projects within cross regional frameworks
•basic conceptual grasp of development theories and approaches to technology that enable critical understanding of both ICT processes and socio-economic development.