The use of technological innovations in development and governance projects is often assumed to be both positive and uniform in its efficacy across disparate social groups, environments, and its relationship with the state. However, there are growing understandings about the ways in which technology (through both hardware and software) has differential effects on people and their livelihoods in low- and middle-income countries. Cell phones and social networking sites, for example, are assumed to have uniform benefits through money transfers or improved communications for governance issues. Few studies have tackled how these technologies often lead to unintended consequences. This project will involve expertise from three UM cluster-hire colleagues: Joyojeet Pal (School of Information), Omolade Adunbi (Afro-American and African Studies) and Bilal Butt (School of Natural Resources and Environment), to investigate three interrelated questions using case studies from Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Kenya. These are: (1) How prevalent is the use of technology in rural and urban livelihood strategies among the poor in low- and middle-income countries? (2) What are political, economic and social contexts associate with the use of these technologies in these livelihood strategies? (3) In what ways, and under which contexts, do the use of technologies reinforce, erode or maintain pre-existing social relations of production and exchange?
Published in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 2015
Published in the Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development
Herding by mobile phone: technology, social networks and the “transformation” of pastoral herding in East Africa
Published in Human Ecology, 2015
Published in the Journal of Information Policy, 2015