The issue of politics in ICT4D is rarely debated on in the information systems field, yet one of the key instrumental freedoms proposed by Sen (1999) in his seminal book on development is political liberty for individuals. In addition, ICT4D initiatives are predominantly informed by a modernist philosophy, which in their effort to bring some material progress grants technological tools a predominant role, assuming that recipients are passive, and development can only be brought by those in a powerful position. This in itself is a political viewpoint, and thus politics are embedded in the design of ICT4D projects. Building on the five constitutive and instrumental freedoms introduced by Sen (1999), we discuss how far ICT4D projects are able to assist political liberty of the alleged beneficiaries, given that political liberties are constrained by wider institutional factors. We conclude by making a call for researchers to more critically examine the structure and intention of ICT4D projects.
Diaz Andrade, Antonio, "Unpacking the Politics of ICT4D: Modernity at the Expense of Political Liberty?" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. 168.