Author/s:

Ullah, M.

Publisher:

SAGE Journals

Year of Publication:

2017

In the wider context of growing digitalisation in South Asia, this article examines the impacts of a public–private–people partnership (4Ps) information and communication technology (ICT) initiative of the Bangladesh government, administered through local governmental offices, the Union Information Service Centre (UISC). Scrutinising the operation of six UISCs in rural communities across Bangladesh, the study researches the potential of ICTs to influence existing asymmetrical power relations and empower local people. Asking to what extent ICTs enable more people to actively participate in their communities and what the implications for empowerment are, it is found that top-down ICT intervention by itself cannot bring substantial change for people at the bottom of the social pyramid. Asymmetrical power relations continue to deprive marginalised groups from receiving the claimed benefits of ICT facilities. The study suggests the need for a more critical, practice-focused understanding of relationships between ICTs and rural empowerment, while also highlighting the changing modalities of connecting states and their citizens in postmodern South Asia.

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