The MGS Blog

Friday, October 7, 2016

How ICT sourcing and development affects social development

Working Group 9.4 from the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) is a scholarly forum for dealing with the issues ICT impacting social development.

The IFIP 9.4 Working Croup has a series of scholarly conferences that seek critical perspectives on processes of growth and development, inclusiveness and social transformation through the impacts of global ICT and BPO sourcing.
(also see
Submission deadline: November 15, 2016
Mt Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia (image source Wikipedia)
Our interest is in how ICT sourcing and globally distributed software development activity is implicated in local social development in the regions from which these activities are sourced. Going one step further we assert that the research object of a 'national' need and response is too abstract, that we need to understand the local rather than national context if meaningful engagement in development is to occur. This is because the more abstract the concepts the more easily does organisational and social action dissipate, thus loosing its efficacy and meaning. Worse, they may be subverted as resources by and for other actors and power interests (Cooke, B, 2004). Postcolonial critics of international development drawing upon 'subaltern studies' have exposed global, regional, and national inequalities. Subalterns reveal workers subjectivities in situ, from the local's perspective rather than the development or governmental agency.

One strand of theorising how inequalities arise against people's best intentions is through the unintended consequence of language games in public discourse. Organisation and management theorists assert that the use of spatial signifiers produces actual idealogical realities in the field of international development. That is, spatial labels produce the categories they refer to. This is an old trick from the days of colonialisation, to label the other (the developing or underdeveloped world) in contrast to the West, or the Northern Hemisphere or developed economies etc. The consequence is to justify and legitimise various national, governmental, organisational and managerial interventions in international development (Gupta, 1998).

References and further reading:
Cooke, B. (2004) ‘Managing the (Third) World’, Organization 11(5): 603-629.
Gupta, A. (1998) Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

also see 43-CMS-2017-Stream-Proposal-Global-South-reconfigured-1.pdf