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Title: A Study of the Impact of Information Technology on Rural Communities in contemporary China
Author: Tung, Ko-ching
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2007
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This study is an investigation ofa project ofpoverty alleviation in rural China through the implementation of development schemes involving computer education, the use ofthe internet and the development of e-commerce. The project, 'Town and Talent . Technologies', was established in 2000 as ajoint initiative between a group ofTaiwanese businessmen and the Chinese government. The research focuses on the pilot scheme for this project - the village of Yellow Sheep River in Gansu Province. The project is approached in the context of emerging policy discourses in relation to rural poverty and particularly the optimism that has been generated around the potential for the use of information and communication technologies (lCTs) to rapidly promote econo~c development in remote rural locations. The research is conducted within the analytic contexts of global poverty discourse and the emerging discourse of 'ICTs for development', and is informed by anthropological approaches to traditional Chinese village culture. It deploys both institutional and policy analysis of the project, and ethnographic field research amongst the 'end users' - the villagers ofYellow Sheep River. This ethnography includes both conventional interview techniques and the use ofvideo deployed according to the tradition of visual anthropology. The focus ofthe ethnography is on the process ofthe domestication and 'indigenisation' ofICT practices and experiences within the local cultural context. The findings ofthe research suggest a complex emergent process ofthe appropriation of new technologies - and their adaptation to local contexts - bringing certain economic opportunities and benefits, but also posing new problems and uncertainties and establishing new cleavages within the economy, the class structure and the culture of village life. At a macro level these tensions can be understood as the outcome of a struggle for power over the use of ICTs between different constituencies of interest: the global planner, the national government and local groups. Despite these tensions, there are signs that an 'indigenous internet' may be emerging as a viable grassroots vehicle for development. It remains very uncertain however as to whether the project's original predictions ofa process ofcompressed technological and economic 'leapfrogging' for rural communities into the global information society is a plausible one.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available