Learning Change

Learning Change Project: +6750 Posts in 8 Blogs

Asymmetries of Knowledge: Mediated Ethnography and ICT for Development

leave a comment »

Over the last few decades the Internet, World Wide Web, cyberspace and so forth have emerged as crucial cultural and political arenas, and thus of increasing relevance as objects and areas of ethnographic inquiry. The paper argues that the ethnographical entry-point for studying such technologically mediated arenas creates specific effects of ‘path-dependence ‘ and attendant asymmetries of knowledge. Globally distributed networks of organizations, collaborating on issues relating to information- and communication technologies for development (ICT4Dev) provides context for the argument. Three sources of knowledge asymmetries are identified: limited presence, partial information and uncertain connections. Athough mediated ethnographies invariably create asymmetries of knowledge they also thrive on these asymmetries. This is because they also replicate features of the field itself: asymmetries of knowledge likewise characterize and influence the activities of globally distributed networks. In conjunction, the three sources of asymmetry create a predicament of mutual opacity as a condition of knowledge making in ICT4Dev networks as well as for the ethnographer. Focusing on the consequences of these asymmetries, the paper argues that mediated ethnography has central contributions to make in a) analyzing the specific formats of the social that emerges from globally distributed organizations and networks and b) bringing to light some alternative stories about what might be done with ICT4Dev.

Read

About these ads

Written by learningchange

May 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Posted in ICT technologies, Knowledge

Tagged with ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 232 other followers