Telecentres: The New Public Spheres?

Telecentres: The New Public Spheres?

Vineeta Dixit (Consultant, Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, Government of India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-713-3.ch016
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Information communications technologies (ICTs) are one of the major areas of research and investment in developing countries because they seem to serve the cause of democratisation and empowering citizens by extending the public sphere. ICTs and especially Internet are regarded as the new public sphere for they seem to lie outside the market and the State, nurtured by civil society serving the cause of good governance and democratisation and empowering grassroots initiatives, giving them access to critical information, organising political actions, influencing public opinion and policy-making. This chapter examines the ‘publicness’ of the telecentres in the framework of public sphere as defined by Habermas. The chapter uses telecentres as representative of ‘technology mediated public space’ created by ICTs and Internet and examines two approaches to the Telecentre movement, analysing whether Telecentres can meet the requirements of the rational-critical discussions and if and what factors influence the extension of the public sphere. The chapter concludes that while the telecentres create opportunities to improve communication and reconnect citizens to the State, offering greater access to information and support for group based discussion, they are likely to support only incremental modifications to the democratic system because the current use of information communication technologies (ICTs) concentrates primarily on information provision, and not linkages that improve the quality of democratic discourse.
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Conceptual Framework

The multiple conceptual threads that intertwine with the core question required a multidisciplinary approach that included the conceptualisation of the public sphere, elaboration on governance, Telecentres and the factors affecting these elements.

Many scholars have extrapolated from Habermas’ work in constructing connections between technology, information and civil society (Wishard, 1994; Boyte and Kari 1996). The conceptual framework used to examine the ‘publicness’ is based on the Habermasian public sphere and its linkages with the system factor encompassing social, technology and use factors (adapted from Lin, 2003) that shape and re-shape it. The left side of the diagram represents the context and the right side, the universal parameters. It can therefore be adapted to analyse varied contexts against a set of universal parameters.

Diagrammatically, the framework can be represented as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Conceptual framework to examine the ‘Publicness’ (Source: Adapted from Lin, 2003)

Conceptually, the four factors – system, social, technology and use that form the contextual half of the conceptual framework will now be discussed in turn.

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Ganesh P. Sahu, Yogesh K. Dwivedi, Vishanth Weerakkody
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Marijn Janssen
Ganesh P. Sahu, Yogesh K. Dwivedi, Vishanth Weerakkody
Ganesh P. Sahu, Yogesh K. Dwivedi, Vishanth Weerakkody
Chapter 1
Bharat Maheshwari, Vinod Kumar, Uma Kumar, Vedmani Sharan
Electronic government (E-government) portals are considered one of the most popular conduits for offering government services online. Successful... Sample PDF
A Framework for E-Government Portal Development
Chapter 2
Petter Gottschalk
The mobilization of electronic information across government organizations has the potential of modernizing and transforming information exchanges.... Sample PDF
E-Government Interoperability: Frameworks for Aligned Development
Chapter 3
Mahfuz Ashraf, Jo Hanisch, Paul Swatman
While there is hope that ICT interventions will lead to socio-economic development in developing countries, there is a dearth of research concerning... Sample PDF
An Explorative Study of Dynamic Influences on ICT-Led Developmental Impact at Community Level
Chapter 4
Marc Holzer, Aroon Manoharan
The chapter is based on a study of global municipal Web portals conducted through a collaboration between the E-Governance Institute at... Sample PDF
Tracking the Digital Divide: Studying the Association of the Global Digital Divide with Societal Divide
Chapter 5
Charru Malhotra, V.M. Chariar, L.K. Das
The speed and outreach enabled by information and communication technologies (ICT) have improved mechanisms of delivery of information, services and... Sample PDF
Making ICT more Meaningful for Governance in the Rural Areas: Role of the Community Knowledge Systems
Chapter 6
Sandeep Kaur, N. Mathiyalagan
ICTs in general and e-governance in particular offer tremendous opportunities for improving demand-driven transparent and accountable service... Sample PDF
Impact of E-Government Implementation on Poverty Reduction in Rural India: Selected Case Studies
Chapter 7
Subhajit Choudhury, Sudhir Kumar
The chapter introduces information communication technology and its importance with respect to digital divide. Digital divides is the connotation of... Sample PDF
E-Governance: Tool for E-Democracy and Citizen Empowerment in the Horizon of Information Technology Era in Developing Society in India, Nepal and Bangladesh
Chapter 8
Siddhartha Ghosh
E-governance is the public sector’s use of information and communication technologies (ICT) with the aim of improving information and service... Sample PDF
Application of Natural Language Processing (NLP) Techniques in E–Governance
Chapter 9
Anand Agrawal
A primary goal of e-governance is providing online-services to citizens over the internet (Web portals) to facilitate government-to-citizen (G2C)... Sample PDF
Assessing E-Governance Online-Service Quality (EGOSQ)
Chapter 10
Sundresan Perumal
As the world is streaming into an electronic world there are still huge communities that don’t understand the evolution government into the era of... Sample PDF
The Success Model of Evolution from Government to E-Governance
Chapter 11
Shafi Al-Shafi, Vishanth Weerakkody
This chapter examines the adoption of free wireless internet parks (iPark) by Qatari citizens as means of accessing electronic services from public... Sample PDF
Technology Acceptance of Free Wireless Internet Park Initiatives
Chapter 12
Yogesh K. Dwivedi
The main purpose of this chapter is to provide readers an exhaustive list of references focused upon electronic government related issues.The... Sample PDF
A Bibliometric Analysis of Electronic Government Research
Chapter 13
C.S.R. Prabhu
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) proposes citizen service delivery up to the village level through various channels including village kiosks.... Sample PDF
Towards an E-Governance Grid for India (E-GGI): An Architectural Framework for Citizen Services Delivery
Chapter 14
Swamy Tribhuvananda H.V., Gopakumar K.
ICTs are increasingly being recognized by the people across the globe as essential tools of development – tools that can empower them, enhance... Sample PDF
E-Halli: An Opportunity to Become Rural Entrepreneurs
Chapter 15
Moaman Al-Busaidy, Vishanth Weerakkody
With the advancement of the Internet and supporting information and communication technologies, e-government has emerged as an effective means of... Sample PDF
E-Government Implementation in Oman: A Preliminary Investigation
Chapter 16
Vineeta Dixit
Information communications technologies (ICTs) are one of the major areas of research and investment in developing countries because they seem to... Sample PDF
Telecentres: The New Public Spheres?
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