Theorizing Community as Discourse in Community Informatics: “Resistant Identities” and Contested Technologies

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Abstract:

Community informatics (CI) is a form of activism that involves the application of information and communication technologies in pursuit of community development within localities. This article draws on discourse theory (DT) to re-evaluate activists’ self-interpretations that rely on community, and to make sense of the political struggles at the heart of CI. It is argued that activists’ community discourse constructs, through articulation, locally “resistant” collective identities and an associated collective agency capable of appropriating technology in pursuit of unfulfilled social demands. However DT also suggests that the socially progressive nature of CI is not guaranteed by recourse to the social ideal of community.

Keywords: Community Informatics; Discourse Theory; Empowerment; Local Community; Locality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2011.645214

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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