The research proposed herein investigates different understandings of knowledge and asks how they result in different designs for the communication of that knowledge. The research will locate this analysis in the area of social and economic development an d examine the impact of Internet-based knowledge sharing in this global sector, in particular how it affects women-s role as knowers and knowledge providers.
Theoretically, the research will be based on Latour-s Actor-Network Theory, Feenberg-s democrat ic rationalisation and Mowlana-s understanding of global communication as cultural ecology. The emerging concept of cognitive justice will be critically examined as the basis for an ethical framework through which to understand the diversity of human know ledge.
The project will focus on how knowledge is conceptualised in the Open Knowledge Network (OKN), a global peer-to-peer knowledge sharing system. In the OKN, local organisations share local content with users who have access to different types of me dia, such as Internet, radio, community loudspeakers or local newspapers. The conceptualisation of knowledge in the OKN will be analysed in an investigation of other socio-technical systems for Internet-based knowledge sharing for development.
The second focus of this project is gender, knowledge and ICT. The diversity of human knowledge is understood as the plurality of ways of knowing. Women-s knowledge plays a crucial role in local development but women are often overlooked in technology transfer. The project will provide an analysis of how knowledge is changed by ICT in the context of the knowledge for development paradigm, in particular the impact of ICT on women-s knowledge and position as knowers, and the likely effects this may have on local deve lopment.