- Stealing the Fire: Communication for Development from the Margins of Cyberspace
- Book title
- Voice + Matter: Communication, Development and the Cultural Return
- Pages (from-to)
- Göteborg: Nordicom
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Over the years, countless social movements have created their own digital media to advance
social change. Like the mythological Prometheus, these activists appropriate technology
in order to breach the monopoly of states and media and technology conglomerates
over people’s voices. These activists remind us of two things: that the everyday means of
communications are not neutral but embed power inequalities and unfair relationships
between producers and users; and that technology should ultimately embody a moral
dimension, and mirror the values of justice, equality and transparency. This chapter connects
grassroots technology creation to the realm of communication for development.
Moving from the ethics of technology that informs grassroots activist practices, I reflect
on what we can learn from tech activists to re-contextualize “voice & matter” in relation
to the opportunities and the challenges of digital technology. In particular, I focus on the
following amongst the activist values: access & sharing, openness & transparency, selfdetermination,
collectivism, the “hands-on” and “do not harm” imperatives.
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