Title

The tools of social change : a critique of techno-centric development and activism

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

New Media and Society

Publication Date

2-2017

Volume

19

Issue

2

First Page

255

Last Page

271

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Keywords

Activism, agency, ICT4D, networking, orgnets, participation, skill, social change

Abstract

Generally, the literatures on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and on networked resistance are evolving isolated from one another. This article aims to integrate these literatures in order to critically review differences and similarities in the techno-centric conceptions of agency and social change by political adversaries that are rooted in their socio-technical practices. We repurpose the critique of technological determinism to develop a multi-layered conception of agency that contains three interrelated dimensions: (1) “access” versus “skill” and the normative concept of inclusion; (2) fixed “system” versus “open-ended network” and savoir vivre; and (3) “institution” versus “extra-institutional network” and political efficacy. Building on our critique, we end by exploring the political possibilities at the intersections of conventional institutions or communities and emerging, extra-institutional networked formations.

DOI

10.1177/1461444815604419

Print ISSN

14614448

E-ISSN

14617315

Publisher Statement

Copyright © The Author(s) 2015

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Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Servaes, J., & Hoyng, R. (2017). The tools of social change: A critique of techno-centric development and activism. New Media and Society1 19(2), 255-271. doi: 10.1177/1461444815604419