User Localization Strategies in the Face of Technological Breakdown

Biometric in Ghana’s Elections

  • Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo
    Pages 1-36
  3. Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo
    Pages 79-90
  4. Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo
    Pages 129-144
  5. Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo
    Pages 145-184
  6. Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo
    Pages 201-219
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 221-243

About this book


Dr. Dorpenyo is to be applauded for highlighting an often forgotten issue of how technology issues in the Global South can inhibit social justice for users who rely on technology to participate in the democratic process. This is a timely and important material that will shape conversations on technology use in the fields of technical communication and rhetoric for a long time.

—Godwin Agboka, Associate Professor of Technical Communication, University of Houston-Downtown, USA

User Localization Strategies in the Face of Technological Breakdown is a nuanced, insightful text that will be useful to technical communication researchers interested in theories and methodologies of localization, biometrics, and cross-cultural technical communication. A much-needed perspective from an important community that can completely transform the ways in which technical communicators think about technology design in both local and global contexts. This book makes powerful interventions in current conversations about decolonizing technical communication through social justice work.

—Laura Gonzales, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies at The University of Texas at El Paso, USA, and  author of Sites of Translation: What Multilinguals Can Teach Us About Digital Writing and Rhetoric​

Dorpenyo’s work provides technical communicators with a deep and very privileged look into the fascinating world of technology transfer in Ghana. The story he tells of how biometrics were adapted by Ghana’s election officials and voters is a case study for how to conduct analyses of “user localization strategies” for our field.

—Tharon W. Howard, Professor of Professional Communication and Rhetoric and Director of the Usability Testing Facility, Clemson University, USA

Dr. Dorpenyo’s unique perspective and robust analysis of the adoption and use of biometric in Ghana’s elections illustrates how users adapted this technology for their social, cultural, physical, and political contexts using linguistic, subversive, and user-heuristic localizations. This work, situated at the intersections of technical communication, civic engagement, social justice, user experience, and localization earns its significance by pointing out the importance of election technologies in non-western cultures and providing us with rhetorical localization strategies to consider within cultural technical communication.

—Michelle F. Eble, Associate Professor of Technical and Professional Communication, East Carolina University, USA

This book examines Ghana’s use of the fingerprint biometric technology in order to further conversations about localization championed by technical communication scholars. Localization, in this case, refers to the extent to which users demonstrate their knowledge of use by subverting and reconfiguring the purpose of technology to solve local problems. Dorpenyo argues that the success of a technology depends on how it meets the users’ needs and the creative efforts users put into use situations. In User Localization Strategies in the Face of Technological Breakdown, Dorpenyo advocates studying how users of technological systems construct knowledge about the technology and develop local strategies to solve technological breakdowns. By analyzing technical documents and interview transcripts, the author identifies and advances three user localization strategies: linguistic localization, subversive localization, and user-heuristic experience localization, and considers how biometric systems can become a tool of marginalization.


STS Biometric Data Technology and Politics Electoral Technologies Technical Communication Biology and Society User Experience Design Surveillance Studies User Localization Strategies African Studies West Africa Ghana Biometric Technology

Authors and affiliations

  • Isidore Kafui Dorpenyo
    • 1
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-26398-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-26399-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site