Kenyan eParticipation Ecologies and the Rise of African Techno-Discourses: Methodological and Ethical Challenges in Understanding the Role of ICTs in Kenya
The objective of this chapter is to demonstrate why there is a real need to shift the current research approach to the study of ICTs for Democracy and Development in Africa and how such shift may occur.
The term eParticipation will be used to define a specific field of study that attempts to investigate how ICTs can be applied to improve citizen/community participation and consequently their capacity to influence government decision-making processes.
The term techno-discourse will be used to describe a system of thoughts composed of cultural and political values, beliefs and media practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds that are defined by it. Therefore a techno-discourse should be considered as an interpretative framework built to influence technological innovation processes and their different impacts on different societies.
The production and appropriation process behind the Kenyan eParticipation project Ushahidi generated a techno-discourse about the rise of African cyberdemocracies and the power of crowd-sourcing. This techno-discourse is deeply connected to a specific economical, cultural and political vision of a definable group of people and is currently affecting the Kenyan society at different levels and in different ways.
By using the eParticipation ecology analytical framework, we will try to understand the different phases of this process and its possible future impact on Kenyan society.
KeywordsMobile Phone Power Dynamic Mainstream Medium Creative Class Media Skill
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