Exploring the link between ICT intervention and human development through a social capital lens : The case study of a wireless project in the mountain region of Nepal
Doctoral thesis, Peer reviewed
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While it is generally accepted that information and communication technology (ICT) can lead to development, the process through which this may happen remains unclear. At the core of this debate is the very definition of the term ‘development’. In this thesis, I adopted Amartya Sen’s definition. According to Sen (1999), human development is built upon a particular capability approach. He inferred that human development is the enhancement of human capabilities (freedom of choice) in order that people can live a life which they value and have reasons to value. The capability approach has, however, been criticized for its individualistic stance. In responding to this criticism, this thesis integrated the societal level by adding collective capabilities to conceptualize development. Such capabilities, which are not simple aggregates of individual capabilities, are built on collective action that can be fostered through social capital. Social capital is characterized as shared norms or values that promote social cooperation within and between communities. It can be further categorized into three forms: bonding, bridging, and linking social capital. Bonding refers to networks between homogeneous groups of people, bridging refers to networks between socially heterogeneous groups, and linking refers to vertical ties between different hierarchies of power and social status.
Doctoral dissertation in information systems at the University of Agder, Kristiansand