Social construction of lnformation and communication Technologies: A study of the selected Departments of the Government of Assam

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Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have played an essential role in modernity and the social sciences today and have contributed to debates on how modernity has been fluid in the 21st century. ICTs have brought about changes in social, cultural, political, economic, ethical, legal, and institutional domains, and these changes are referred to as late modernity or postmodernity. Investigating the role of ICTs in building human capabilities and their role in shifting social life is essential. Information and communication technologies are perceived as a tool for development. Further, it has been acknowledged as a problem-solving source and generating growth that aims at concrete deliverables to society. Development agencies have applied ICTs in various projects as a means of development. Policymakers of developing countries have introduced ICTs to establish good governance. The present study is an attempt to examine about the relevant technologies that different departments of government of Assam have been introducing to connect different communities, to improve livelihood of people, and to facilitate the activities of the state run institutions. As the study aims to look at the ICT application and its diffusion from Social Construction of Technology approach, therefore this study assumes greater significance in the context of the conflicting interest of various stakeholders, viz. the state, state- regulated departments, civil society organizations and the citizens i.e. the interest and meanings associate with different technologies indicate differing perspectives of various stakeholders. Organizations are chosen for the present study as they are such platforms where different stakeholders can act together. A part of the study also looks at the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies in the context of cultural and social factors in India and government initiatives on the diffusion of Innovation for the broader development of the nation and the development of the various regions. The study also applies Actor Network Theory and culminates that a particular technology is shaped by a combination of individuals, groups, organizations, and practices interconnected to cause change towards a particular purpose. While shaping a particular technology, individuals, groups, organizations, and practices are networks seen as a mix of humans and non-humans with different identities. The study aims to observe the ICTs’ implementation and diffusion in government organizations and its institutionalization by seeing ICT as a social practice that establishes social interaction among different entities through communication channels. The study of impact of ICTs is also a part of the Information System Research. Therefore, in this study it is found that changes occurred as a result of an innovation in general and ICTs in particular is not a linear process. It is more or less influenced both by the characteristics of the innovation itself and the particular context where it operates. ICTs is not something that can be injected from outside to bring some changes. Rather it has to be examine in terms of a number of factors such as economic resources, employment, health, education, civic engagement and culture to make it inclusive in nature.
Supervisor: Mallick, Sambit
Social Construction of Technological Systems, Actor Network Theory, Information and Communication Technologies, Diffusion, Dissemination, Government Organizations, Assam