Journal of the Association for Information Systems


This study moves beyond the conventional focus on technology access, adoption, and participation in communities, and instead presents a perspective on digital inclusion as a complex process of both empowerment and subjugation. Drawing on Foucault’s theorization on subjectivity and power, our case study of community health workers in rural India reveals that the adoption of an mHealth application simultaneously subordinated and strengthened the subjectivity of the community health workers. The study explicates the process through which the health workers oscillated between the enhancement of their individual efficacy, and their submission to institutionalized power as facilitated by the mHealth application during their everyday work practices. Thus, by shifting the focus from “who” is digitally included to “how” they become digitally included, our research provides a fresh perspective that enriches and deepens the discourse of digital inclusion. It generates both theoretical and practical implications for anyone interested in understanding digital inclusion from a more granulated and practice-based perspective.




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