Power, politics and digital development (our DSA 2016 sessions)
We’ve pulled together a fantastic group of papers for the upcoming DSA meeting in Oxford:
- Richard Heeks (University of Manchester) email
- Mark Graham (University of Oxford) email
- Ben Ramalingam (Institute of Development Studies) email
Covers the broad intersection of power, politics and digital development including both directionalities - the impact of power and politics on design, diffusion, implementation and outcomes of ICT application; and the impact of ICT application on power and politics - and their mutual interaction.
Digital Dividends" - the 2016 World Development Report - finds the benefits of digital development to be unevenly distributed, and identifies emergent “digital ills”. The cause in both cases is inequalities of power in economic and political arenas including vested interests, digital monopolies, lack of citizen voice vis-a-vis the state, and other factors.
This panel invites papers at the broad intersection of power, politics and digital development including both directionalities - the impact of power and politics on design, diffusion, implementation and outcomes of ICT application; and the impact of ICT application on power and politics - and their mutual interaction.
We welcome work anywhere along the spectrum from the micro-exercise of power within individual ICT4D initiatives through the politics of national ICT-using organisations and institutions to global Internet governance. Other topics for papers might include but are not limited to:
- The organisational politics of ICT4D
- Digital resources as foundations of power in development
- Reproduction and transformation of power and inequality through digital development
- Digital development discourse as a source and reflection of power
- The institutional logics that conflict and contest to shape digital development
- How national and international ICT policies address and express issues of power
U.S. Foreign Policy and the Internet: Chronicling the Shift from Circumvention to Connectivity
Author: Deniz Duru Aydin (University of Oxford)
This paper investigates the evolution of Internet-related U.S. foreign policy and development agenda from Internet freedom to today’s Global Connect Initiative. The reasons for this policy shift are analyzed within the broader global context such as Snowden revelations and the recently adopted SDGs.
Configuring the users adapting the system: participation and ICT4D in Afghanistan
Author: Melanie Stilz (Technical University Berlin)
Participation is still almost exclusively defined from a donor perspective. How can those offering their help and resources enable participation by those receiving the support? In this paper I examine how “participation” is interpreted and executed in ICT project in the Afghan education sector.
Critical Agency in Digital Development
Author: Tony Roberts (United Nations University)
This paper uses critical theory to extend Sen’s capability approach and to argue that key to digital development should be enhancing people’s critical-agency i.e. their ability to critique and act upon any power and political constraints on their development.
Digital Politics, Institutional Logics and Development
Author: Richard Heeks (University of Manchester)
This paper illustrates, explains and draws conclusions from the six patterns that emerge from growth of digital politics in the global South; patterns of Copy, Spread, Curve, Boost, Shift and Hybrid between dominant competitive and subordinate cooperative institutional logics.
Digital technologies, power, and intermediaries in Myanmar and India
Authors: Elisa Oreglia (SOAS University of London)
Digital technologies that can disintermediate markets are now common in Myanmar and India and yet intermediaries and traditional practices still dominate rural markets. We explore the resilience of intermediaries and how digital technologies reinforce, and more rarely challenge, existing power hierarchies.
From Open Data to Empowerment: Lessons from Indonesia and the Philippines
Author: Michael Canares (World Wide Web Foundation)
Using case studies in the Philippines and Indonesia, this paper explains how and why open data can affect the spaces, places, and forms of power and how it provides avenues for citizens to exert efforts to reclaim its space in decision-making, agenda-setting, and meaning-making.
Identity, transparency and other visibilties: A liquid surveillance perspective of biometric technologies
Author: Shyam Krishna (Royal Holloway, University of London)
This paper studies ‘Aadhar’ – India’s national biometric digital identity program under a ‘liquid surveillance’ lens exploring surveillant power and associated politics of the project which seeks a seeming trade-off between citizen privacy and its modernist and developmentalist purpose.
Institutional isomorphism and organized hypocrisy in aid information management systems (AIMS): Case of Indonesia
Author: Kyung Ryul Park (LSE )
The study highlights the complexity of aid information management systems (AIMS), and explains its implementation and shutdown. By doing an in-depth qualitative study in Indonesia, it shows that AIMS is not mainly driven by a search for managerialistic gain, but motivated by external pressures.
Points-of-presence: Cloud giants in the datacenter-periphery
Authors: Rupert Brown (Prodiga Research)
We show the incursion of the big three cloud providers into African networks and illustrate flows and caches between regional peers. An investigation of Bandwidth-delivery and Security-ownership shows shadow technology, with services and instances, sidestepping local and national control.
Political Power and Digital Payments in a Government Social Social Cash Programme
Author: Atika Kemal (Anglia Ruskin University UK)
This paper investigates the effects of political power on the design and implementation of digital payments in a government social cash programme in Pakistan. It adopts an interpretive case study methodology to collect primary data through qualitative methods.
The Dialectics of Open Development
Authors: Yingqin Zheng
Becky Faith (Institute of Development Studies)
This paper aims to provide a critical literature review on open development, explore the ideological assumptions, political foundations and economic forces behind open development, examine the challenges and unintended consequences, and consider the dialectics of boundaries in openness.
The Digital Politics of Development and Anonymous Online Power
Author: Brett Matulis (University of Leicester)
Development is an inherently political act that is both promoted and disputed through online media. With the rise of the “darknet” and anonymous digital activism, we are witnessing an important shift in power relations and a new phase in digital political resistance to development projects.
The Networkers of Outrage: a Demographic Survey of Indonesian Twitter Activists
Author: Lukas Schlogl (King’s College London)
This paper explores Twitter protest during a nationwide political controversy about Indonesia’s local direct elections. Drawing on novel survey data, it analyzes geo-demographic and socioeconomic determinants of political Twitter use and evaluates Twitter’s impact on Indonesia’s democracy.
The Struggle for Digital Inclusion: Phones, Healthcare, and Sharp Elbows in India
Author: Marco Haenssgen (Nuffield Department of Medicine)
I use an India-wide household panel to explore healthcare marginalisation among digitally excluded and included groups in rural areas. I find that phone diffusion creates a struggle that sharpens the elbows of those who are able to use the devices—provided the health system permits such use.
Unique Identification Number To A Billion Indians: Politics Around Identity, Data Sharing And Analytics
Authors: Ranjini Raghavendra
Shirin Madon (LSE)
The paper focusses on issues of Identity, Data Sharing and Analytics within the world’s largest social identity programme namely Aadhar, in India.
What is Free about Free Basics?
Author: Jenna Keenan-Alspector (University of Colorado - Boulder)
Investigating how industry giants leverage power and increase inequalities, further straining the resources of the poor; a new ‘digital ill’ has risen: the emergence of the drug dealer of mobile broadband, Free Basics.