IAMCR 2017 preconference: Mapping New Perspectives and Debates on Digital Divide in Africa

PreconferenceWith my colleague Bruce Mutsvairo (University of Technology Sydney) we have organized a preconference at the IAMCR 2017, Cartagena (Colombia). Part of the outcome will be published in a book we are editing for Amsterdam University Press (2018). 

Here the call. Social media platforms are being considered new podiums for political transformation as political dictatorships supposedly convert to overnight democracies as more and more people are not only able to gain access to information but also gather and disseminate news from a perspective of their own. When looking at the situation in several sub-Saharan African countries, it becomes clear there are several challenges standing in the way of social media and its palpable yet considerably constrained ability to influence political and social changes. Access to the Internet or lack of it there of, is a recognized social stratification causing “digital divide” thanks to existing inequalities within African and several other societies throughout the world. Despite issues associated with the digital divide, mobile telephony is growing on the continent and the rise of smartphones has given citizens easy access to social networking sites. But the digital divide, which mostly reflects on one’s race, gender, socioeconomic status or geographical location, stands in the way of digital progress.

What opportunities are available to tame digital disparities? How are different societies in Africa handling digital problems? What innovative methods are being used to provide citizens with access to critical information that can help improve their lives? This call will be seeking original contributions focusing on experiences from various locations in several sub-Saharan African countries with the aim of providing an updated, critical account on the digital divide and its impact in Africa. We seek theoretical and empirical contributions exploring these or any related themes:

-Defining and redefining digital divide with specific reference to Africa and its Diaspora

-Theoretical interpretations of the concept

– Exploring the Afro-centered relationships between digital divide and digital inequalities

-Differences between the first, second and third levels of digital divide

-Protest cultures in Africa and how they have fallen prey to digital divide

Chapters presented and discussed by

Lyton Ncube, PhD (University of Johannesburg)

Mohammed Musa, PhD (University of Canterbury, NZ)

Steven Sam, PhD (University of Queensland)

Joseph Njuguna, PhD and Margaret Jjuuko, PhD University of Rwanda

 Tedla Desta, PhD (Ireland)

Beschara Karam, PhD (University of South Africa)

Scott Timcke, PhD, University of West Indies

Lorenzo Dalvit, PhD  (Rhodes University)

Chika Anyanwu, PhD (Charles Stuart University)

Bruce Mutsvairo, PhD (UTS)

Massimo Ragnedda, PhD (Northumbria University)



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