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Title: Digital Bangladesh : information and communication technology for empowerment?
Author: Asaduzzaman, A. S. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 0094
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This study critically investigates the concept of “digital Bangladesh” putting it in the wider debates surrounding ICT for Development (ICT4D). The original contribution of this thesis is that it problematizes empowerment in ICT4D approach within the human development paradigm in the context of Bangladesh. The main argument of the thesis is that digital Bangladesh as the local manifestation of ICT for Development is both outcome and facilitator of neoliberal globalization. Another argument is that digital Bangladesh promotes entrepreneurship-oriented personal empowerment which is consistent with the neoliberal ideologies. The thesis involves two types of empirical study: discursive and ethnographic. To be precise, it conducts a critical analysis of the National ICT Policy 2009 with the aim of investigating how digital Bangladesh is discursively constructed by it. The findings of the analysis show that the Policy constructs a positive discourse of digital Bangladesh. Most importantly, parroting ICT4D, the Policy propagates the idea that ICT can bring about progress in all areas of the lives of the citizenry, particularly social equity, education, healthcare and economic growth. The entire National ICT Policy is permeated by technological determinism. On the micro level, ethnographically designed fieldwork was conducted at three telecentres located at three districts. Findings show that the telecentres served predominantly the privileged sections of rural societies (i.e. literate, young men and women), by providing either services based on computer, the Internet and the Web, or computer-education. Peasants and other marginalized populations that form the majority of rural populations were invisible at the centres. Analysed from an empowerment approach based on social power, the findings suggest that the telecentres could hardly bring about empowerment and human development in the lives of the people involved with them in different ways. They at best contributed to the entrepreneurs’ achievement of self-reliance, which is consistent with neoliberalism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral