a study of the impact of information technology on rural communities in contemporary China

Tung, K.-C., 2007. a study of the impact of information technology on rural communities in contemporary China. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This study is an investigation of a project of poverty alleviation in rural China through the implementation of development schemes involving computer education, the use of the internet and the development of e-commerce. The project, 'Town and Talent Technologies', was established in 2000 as a joint initiative between a group of Taiwanese 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 (ICTs) to rapidly promote economic 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 of Yellow Sheep River. This ethnography includes both conventional interview techniques and the use of video deployed according to the tradition of visual anthropology. The focus of the ethnography is on the process of the domestication and 'indigenisation' of ICT practices and experiences within the local cultural context.

The findings of the research suggest a complex emergent process of the 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 of a process of compressed technological and economic 'leapfrogging' for rural communities into the global information society is a plausible one.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Tung, K.-C.
Date: 2007
ISBN: 9781369314342
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 18 Sep 2020 11:00
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 12:51

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