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IDIA2014 Conference
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
3-4 November 2014

ICTs for Inclusive Communities: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Maria Rosa Lorini
University of Cape Town
South Africa

Izak van Zyl
University of South Africa

Wallace Chigona
University of Cape Town
South Africa

Full paper


This paper will explore the meanings and roles of information and communication technology (ICT) for communities in underserved areas, and how these discourses affect the use of available technology artefacts. Since a certain degree of “technological determinism” is still rife in the field of information and communication technology for development (ICT4D), there is a need to operationalise more inclusive, contextual and socially responsive technologies for societal development. It becomes critical in this regard for academics and practitioners to uncover the discourses and concepts that emerge from grounded research when designing, implementing and evaluating projects. Through an empirical case study in Cape Town, South Africa, the authors will explore and discuss some ‘collective implications’ of ICT for urban poor communities. From this study, a series of meanings around ICT was identified from discussions with community groups as performative, survival, modernity and unspoken discourses. From these, specific collective capabilities, possibilities and risks emerged and revealed the relative knowledge about material and motivational accessibility, as well as the knowledge around usage, costs, and skills.

Key words

Critical discourse analysis, ICT4D, inclusive communities, empowerment.