The emerging practice of using information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the web, SMS, Geographic Information Systems and others, in peacebuilding projects has over the past few years generated growing interest from donors, practitioners and more recently academia. This is in large parts due to three trends: the observed role of new media in conflict situations; the attention given to digital data for conflict analysis, humanitarian and development work; and the emerging use of new forms of ICTs in peacebuilding activities. This interest however leaves implicit the range of constructive contributions ICTs can make to peacebuilding and conflict transformation processes and ways to conceptualise this emerging field. Moreover work undertaken in this area often falls within disciplinary silos that are not conducive to gaining a holistic perspective of the wider implications of using ICTs in peacebuilding contexts. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this paper proposes a framework for understanding some of the constructive contributions ICTs have to make to peacebuilding and conflict transformation processes. Grounded in current debates around the ‘liberal peace’ this framework allows us to conceptualise ICTs as sociotechnical phenomena, moving beyond ideas of ‘solving problems’ through technology or a focus on external interventions. Instead the analytical emphasis shifts to the co-evolutive nature of local and other uses of technology, in situations where complex power dynamics are at play, and as such allows us to better understand the technologies' emergent properties, providing a more comprehensive account of their wider societal impacts.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2015|