ICTs for Economic Empowerment in South India
Shoba Arun (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK), Richard Heeks (University of Manchester, UK) and Sharon Morgan (University of Manchester, UK)
Copyright: © 2006
The role of new technologies, particularly information and communications technology (ICTs) in the global society is central to both contemporary social theory and understanding transformations that are characteristics of the information society and post modernity. The emphasis on technological determinism is useful in tracing social and economic changes at large, but the economic and social shaping of technology is often illustrative of wider social relations, with local considerations. Recently, studies have demonstrated how technology is socially-contextualised, with gender differential barriers to access and use of ICTs by men and women (Hafkin & Taggart, 2001). This article argues that ICTs as a form of new technology are socially deterministic, albeit context dependent, need to take into account the role of social actors and interactions, which is often ignored in the blind pursuit of market forces. The article is structured as follows: the Background section examines some of the debates relating to gender and ICTs; then the Main Thrust section proceeds to examine the ICT context in southern India through a case study of the Kudumbashree project and some conclusions are provided in the last section.