Abstract - The Information Society 22(5)

Where Information Society and Community Voice Intersect

Ramesh Srinivasan

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development initiatives have begun to acknowledge the power and importance of cultural and community-focused belief systems. Yet the vast majority of such initiatives tend to pre-identify developmental goals that communities hold. Paulo Freire’s writings have influenced development initiatives by introducing the possibility of working with communities to orient projects. While these “participatory” initiatives have involved soliciting community feedback relative to a research project whose goals were formulated in the university or development institution, they do not go far enough to harness to actual visions held by communities. It is important to conceptualize a model and methodology of engaging communities to develop and articulate their own goals of information access and ultimately, an indigenous approach toward cultural, political, and economic aspects of development. This approach holds promise to sustain within communities and return on the investment and efforts of the researcher or institution. This paper closes by describing a current initiative in Southern India that reflects the described methodology.


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