It is always exciting to have finished the page proofs and done the index of a book, especially when this has to be completed between Christmas and the New Year as it was with Reclaiming ICT4D at the end of 2016! However, when the cover has been agreed and it appears on the publisher’s website, then one knows that it is actually going to appear in several months time!
This is OUP’s overview of the book:
- Combines understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects of ICT for development (ICT4D)
- Challenges existing orthodoxy and offers alternatives that can make a practical difference in the field
- Addresses the interests underlying the use of technology in development
- Wide ranging in coverage, including discussion of regulation, partnership, technological innovation, and the darker side of ICTs
I like being involved in the design of different aspects of my books, and I am so grateful to OUP for agreeing to publish Reclaiming ICT4D in two fonts, one to represent theory and the other practice. I am also immensely happy that they were willing to use one of my pictures on the cover to represent much of what the book is about. In case it is not immediately obvious, this picture taken a year ago in Murree (Pakistan) represents many things: a hope for the future, with the young boy vigorously hitting the ball way over his friends’ heads; cricket itself acknowledges the complex heritage of colonialism and imperialism; in the background is a telecommunications mast, providing the connectivity that has the potential to be used to reduce inequalities, but all too often increases them; the electricity so essential for powering ICTs is very visible; and women are absent, representing another dimension of inequality that is addressed in the book. It is also much more than this. My father visited Murree 71 years ago, and may have walked along this street; I went there with friends, and the book is very much a personal story of how I have learnt from them and the many people who have shared their wisdom and experiences with me over the years; it is above all about how people like these boys, playing on the street, can use ICTs to transform their lives for the better, rather than becoming the cyborg cannon-fodder that global capitalism seeks to devour for the benefit of the rich and powerful.
A little more formally, this is how OUP describe the contents of the book on their website:
“The development of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has transformed the world over the last two decades. These technologies are often seen as being inherently ‘good’, with the ability to make the world better, and in particular to reduce poverty. However, their darker side is frequently ignored in such accounts.
ICTs undoubtedly have the potential to reduce poverty, for example by enhancing education, health delivery, rural development and entrepreneurship across Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, all too often, projects designed to do so fail to go to scale, and are unsustainable when donor funding ceases. Indeed, ICTs have actually dramatically increased inequality across the world. The central purpose of this book is to account for why this is so, and it does so primarily by laying bare the interests that have underlain the dramatic expansion of ICTs in recent years. Unless these are fully understood, it will not be possible to reclaim the use of these technologies to empower the world’s poorest and most marginalised.”
Its seven chapters are entitled as follows:
1: A critical reflection on ICTs and ‘Development’
2: Understanding the Technologies
3: The International Policy Arena: ICTs and Internet Governance
4: Partnerships in ICT4D: Rhetoric and Reality
5: From Regulation to Facilitation: The role of ICT and Telecommunication Regulators in a Converging World
6: Reflections on the Dark Side of ICT4D
7: …in the Interests of the Poorest and Most Marginalized.
It is also being made available as an Ebook, and publication date is estimated as 25th May 2017.