This paper aims at contributing to the debate about the digital divide. We first focus on what to us constitutes the root problem: the typical approaches to the development of people through and by the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). In contrast to governmental, political and technological attempts that focus almost exclusively on providing access to digital communication technologies, and expect “development” naturally to flow from that, we argue for a focus on “development” which is based on our notion of sustainable socio-economic development. We refer to “technocentric approaches” when the approaches propose and pursue technological interventions and show little regard for the actual needs of the people involved. At the other end of the scale, where the focus is on people and their developmental needs, we will speak of “sociocentric approaches”. This presents us with a different divide, which we will refer to as the “socio-techno divide”. We argue that it is this divide that has to be addressed – not the digital divide – and then present an analysis of the socio-techno divide. This illuminates the issues that need our attention and indicates an agenda for constructive engagement about the use of ICT for development in the Third and Fourth worlds.
Roode, Dewald; Speight, Hilary; Pollock, Michael; and Webber, Russell, "It's Not the Digital Divide - It's the Socio-Techno Divide!" (2004). ECIS 2004 Proceedings. 112.