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Technologies of Development: Policy, Practice and Discourse

Annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Seattle, Washington, 10-16 April 2011 (http://www.aag.org/cs/annual_conference).

Organizers:
Mark Graham, University of Oxford
Padraig Carmody, Trinity College Dublin
Jim Murphy, Clark University

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have shifted development policy and practice in much of the world. “E-learning,” “e-agriculture,” “m-development,” “telecenters,” “e-villages,” and “development 2.0” are just some of the many terms used to signify uses of ICTs to enable new types of social, economic and political development. Countless human and financial resources have been spent on work framed within the “ICT for development” (ICTD) umbrella, and technologies like the mobile phone, laptop computer, and the Internet are frequently seen as an integral to development projects. However, while ICTD has promised much to the Global South, the potentials of new technologies and technological practices have often not translated into realities. This session will explore the differences that ICTs make within the contexts of development. Specifically, we seek papers that ask:

• How are ICTs altering positionalities of actors in the Global South?
• How do ICTs shift political, economic and social power?
• How do ICTs alter relationships between labor and capital in chains of production and consumption?
• How and why are ICTs becoming (or not becoming) integrated into the everyday practices of businesspeople and households in the Global South? And with what socioeconomic consequences?
• What are the key discourses used to frame ICTD debates and projects?
• How are ICTD projects and technologies altering or countering patterns of uneven development?
• What are some of the key critiques that should be levelled at ICTD projects?
• Are ICTD projects socioeconomically feasible and inclusive given the often expensive technological infrastructures they require?

Papers may be selected for a themed journal issue after the conference.

If you are interested in participating, please send 250 word abstracts to Mark Graham (mark.graham@oii.ox.ac.uk), by October 15, 2010.