Abstract - The Information Society 30(3)

SPECIAL ISSUE: Media and Empowerment


The Capability Approach Community Informatics

Larry Stillman and Tom Denison

The paper integrates key theories and concepts associated with the Capability Approach to Community Informatics, a domain of socio-technical theory and practice concerned to improve the lives of people in need.  While the social value propositions for Community Informatics are useful for orienting pragmatic research and practice, they are currently not well considered theoretically. Sociological theory is therefore explored to provide a stronger anchor to Community Informatics as compared to the narrower theoretical agenda of Information Systems. Within this framework, the Capability Approach is identified as one example of a strong social theory with potential for adaptation into Community Informatics.  This would have several effects, including strengthening internal theory, and building capacity to engage in stronger dialogue with other disciplines, including sociology and Information Systems. This new approach to CI theory via sociological theory also allows for the adaptation and testing of other bodies of theory.


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