In this paper we put forward a basis for a debate on adequate and self-reflexive sensemaking in ICT4D social situations. To portray the idea (our value judgement) that everyone (researchers and research participants) needs development, self-reflexivity and practical immersion are discussed as concepts that should form part of ICT4D social inquiry. We build on Bourdieu’s critical views on ‘adequate sensemaking’ and ‘practical immersion’ in social situations, but also draw from work on hermeneutics, Phronetic social research, ethnography, critical reflexivity, and a view on social linguistics to firstly construct our argument for alternate methodological considerations that prioritizes virtuoso expertise that is aligned with the critical paradigm, above analytical scientific knowledge and technical knowledge or know-how. Secondly, we test these emerging ideas with self-reflexive and self-conscious conversations presented in the form of narratives (demonstrations of virtuoso expertise) about our involvement in a rural marginalized high school in a remote district in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. We focus specifically on the sensemaking context created by our presence in the community and we argue that for ICT4D social inquiry to truly matter (i.e., to be adequate), it should stop valuing attempts to try and mimic natural sciences and appeal for methodological accountability only. We further argue that adequate sensemaking and social inquiry cannot be divorced from seeking some form of experientially-based immersion on the part of the researcher. Based on the research, we recommend increased attention to local context, particularly community tensions; researcher use of conscious sensemaking through reflexivity; people-orientation along with experiential learning; all of which should be considered for future ICT4D work in developing environments.
Krauss, Kirstin; Simuja, Clement; and Conger, Sue, "ICT education practices in marginalized rural schools in South Africa: considerations for adequate sensemaking and practical immersion" (2015). GlobDev 2015. 2.