Related to some of the themes that we will be discussing in class about communications and development, it’s perhaps useful to consider some of the ways that the ideas that traditional communications and development continue to the present day.
There are a number of projects and programs that work towards goals of economic and social development along lines that are not radically different from some of the goals envisioned in early development communication. Of course, the technology has changed as well as some of the discourses. Here are two quick examples we will take up in class if we have time:
1) One Laptop Per Child: This program has been around for a few years with the goal of providing children around the world with a laptop. As the video below shows, the idea is that access to communication technology connects children to the world and, by means of this, to “a brighter world.” The hardware that they’ve designed is quite amazing. But it’s worth asking about the ways in which the continues with the limits of traditional paradigms of communication in development and how the use of network technologies breaks with these problems.
2) Alliance for Affordable Internet: This is a recent project that Google, Yahoo as well as a number of international development organizations are working together on with the aim of bringing affordable internet access to people around the world. It continues in the tradition of projects run by many large information companies that seek to use digital media and information media to reduce poverty and inequality such as google.org.