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Call for papers: Geographical perspectives on ICT and Development Discourse, Policy and Practice (RGS Conference 2011)

We are seeking papers for the following session that will be held at the 2011 RGS-IBG International Conference:

Information and communication technologies (ICTs), in particular mobile phones and the Internet, are affecting people’s social and economic offline realities in much of the world. The Internet is a sphere of cultural expression, political and economic struggles and social interaction. Due to the potentially highly significant social, economic, and political changes that can be brought about by the Internet, development scholars and practitioners from different disciplinary backgrounds are increasingly interested in the potential of ICTs to support development initiatives. “E-learning,” “e-agriculture,” “m-development,” “telecenters,” “e-villages,” and “development 2.0” are some of the many terms used to signify uses of ICTs to enable new types of social, economic and political development.

Extensive human and financial resources have been spent on work framed by the “ICT for development” (ICTD/ICT4D) umbrella. Supported by large technology companies, national governments and key international donors, the ICTD/ICT4D community of practice has promised much, but not all the hype has been translated into reality. This session will bring together the theoretical and empirical expertise of geographers to critically examine ICTD/ICT4D policy and practice. This can be done though qualitative and quantitative studies as well as discourse and policy analyses of information and communication technologies in the widest sense. Specifically, we seek papers that ask:

• Which development paradigms are being invoked in ICTD/ICT4D discourses?
• What are the key discourses used to frame ICTD/ICT4D projects?
• Which patterns of uneven development are being reinforced or countered by ICTs?
• How do social exclusions in offline and online space compare?
• Can ICTs facilitate real shifts in political, economic and social power?
• How do ICTs affect relationships between labour and capital in chains of production and consumption?
• Why are ICTs becoming (or not becoming) integrated into the everyday lives of people in the global South (and North)?
• What are some of the key critiques that should be levelled at ICTD/ICT4D policy and projects?
• Where multi-stakeholder partnerships with businesses are appropriate, how should these be framed for ICTD/ICT4D?
• What potential is there for not-for-profit, open access or subversive uses of ICTs?

This session is sponsored by both the Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) and the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG).

The organisers intend to bring together the best papers from this session in a special issue.

If you are interested in participating, please send 250 word abstracts to Mark Graham (mark.graham [at] oii.ox.ac.uk) and Dorothea Kleine (Dorothea.Kleine [at] rhul.ac.uk) by Feb 20, 2011.