Indigenous Peoples and the Cultural Constructions of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Latin America

Indigenous Peoples and the Cultural Constructions of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Latin America

Juan Francisco Salazar (University of Western Sydney, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch140
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Abstract

Indigenous media have become an intensely debated subject in discussions of cultural diversity and access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). In many circles, the question of the equitable and affordable access to communication and information has begun to be conceptualized as integral to human rights and as an essential element in the foundation of a knowledge and/or information society. The purpose of the chapter is to analyse current approaches to indigenous ICT practices in Latin America by examining several case studies that explore, enliven and criticize the often ethnocentric discussions of the digital divide. The analysis is placed in the context of the rise of coordinated indigenous movements in Latin America, the wave of media privatisation in the region and the impact of IT policy and reform. It argues that, beyond consideration of the social impact of ICT on indigenous cultures, it is also relevant to consider the cultural construction of new technologies of information and communication in order to better understand the ways in which indigenous peoples adopt and make use of new digital technologies according to traditional knowledge and systems of law. The chapter concludes by supporting the need for self-identification of local practices and knowledge within the communities in order to design adequate strategies to gain benefit from the use of ICTs.

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