This option course for the OII MSc in “Social Science of the Internet” introduces students to the debates and practices surrounding the uses of ICTs with a focus on the Global South. We draw on resources from anthropology, development studies, economics, geography, and history to examine the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin development — as a practice, as a subject of research, and as a discourse. We will also draw heavily on case studies in order to ground theory in practice, and examine a range of projects that have employed ICTs as a solution to problems in Africa, Asia and the Americas. ICTs have the power to fundamentally transform the economic, social and political relationships in poorer parts of our planet. However, potentials often do not translate into realities, and it is important to be aware of not only the promises, but also the perils of the transformative nature of communication technologies. As such, this course will provide an opportunity to reflect on local appropriateness, social inclusion and the range of arguments for and against any ICT for development project in a variety of contexts.

About the speakers