Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development


recict4dIt 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:

Preface
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.

To request a review copy, do contact OUP directly using their request form.

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11 Comments

Filed under Africa, Asia, Books, Development, ICT4D, Photographs, Uncategorized

11 responses to “Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development

  1. Emanuele Giovannetti

    Thank you Tim, a must-read for me given the compelling description, Emanuele

  2. Dear Dr. Prof. Tim Unwin,
    Very heartiest congratulations for “Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development” ! I ver much like Reclaiming. I need a copy but from Bangladesh It is very difficult to collect a OUP book. With best regards,

    ​Bazlu
    ________________________
    AHM. Bazlur Rahman-S21BR | Chief Executive Officer |
    Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
    [Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations]

    House: 9/4 Road: 2, Shaymoli, Dhaka-1207| Bangladesh|
    Phone: +88-02-9130750| 9101479 | Cell: +88 01711881647
    Fax: 88-02-9138501 | E-mail: ceo@bnnrc.net | bnnrcbd@gmail.com |
    http://www.bnnrc.net

  3. Great photo, Tim! It is really a picture that speaks a thousand words. Looking forward to the book.

  4. Pingback: Reclaiming ICT4D: the Conclusion | Tim Unwin's Blog

  5. I love what you say ref “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”. That is exactly what we all need to understand better and learn to address – especially when we include the sisters and other family and community members you referred to as missing in the picture.

    I get the feeling that “Reading this book may cause disruption of preconceptions and discomfort in personal ‘comfort zones’ “. We need this. Thank you.

    • Tim Unwin

      Thanks so much – glad you like it – I’m slightly afraid that everyone will find something in it that offends them!

      • Ref “I’m slightly afraid that everyone will find something in it that offends them!” That’s what I meant by the “Reading this book may cause disruption of preconceptions and discomfort in personal ‘comfort zones’ “.

        Knowing what I do of your opinions my feeling is that “Anyone who could be offended by your opinions should be offended by them” – which is likely to be an uncomfortable ride for a while. Question is – how bumpy will the ride be and will it be worth it?

        How will ‘we’ respond if you offend us? How will I respond if you offend me? Will others be the same?

        On a “good day” I’ll genuinely beIieve that “taking offense” and “making mistakes” and “failing” are all attitudes of mind. They are simply mismatches between what I was expecting and what just happened – all part of “life’s rich picture” and “valuable learning experiences”to be taken calmly in my stride – but that’s on a good day.

        On a “bad day” my emotions won’t believe a word of the above. I’ll want to noisily defend my position, or hide under the duvet in deep despair and humiliation with no intention of ever coming out again.

        I guess you’re about to discover if your readers are having a “good day” or a “bad day”.

      • Tim Unwin

        Thanks Pamela so much for this encouragement. Let’s hope everyone reads it on a good day!

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