Information Technology for Development Call for Papers

Special Issue: ICTs for promoting sustainable information society and harmony

Information Technology for Development

Do you explore the relationship of information communication technologies (ICTs) with the development of a harmonious society?

Do you wish to increase our understanding of how social harmony influences the outcomes of using ICTs for development (ICT4D)?

If so, you should contribute your research to our special issue covering ICTs for Promoting a Sustainable Information Society and Harmony.

Why this subject?

We view a ‘harmonious society’ as: a peaceful and balanced ‘connected whole’ in a transformed social dynamic.

In this ideal situation, there is a sustainable exchange of resources. Development occurs through mutual agreements of the relevant stakeholders - defined by their attributes of ‘power, legitimacy and urgency’ (Mitchell et al, 1997).

In this case, ‘information’ is an inevitable resource. It may not reduce ignorance and uncertainty in the decision-making processes but it may create a space that could potentially disrupt the normative state of certain social order (Islam, 2011). It indicates a tension between ‘empowerment’ versus ‘disempowerment’. 

As “all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony” (Aurobindo, 1972, P. 2), the goal of development is not only to ensure social harmony, but also to minimize the elements that undermine or disrupt the ‘connected whole’.

Sein and Harindranath (2004) synthesized the development debates from three perspectives: modernization, dependency, and human development. Human development requires removal of major sources of unfreedoms (Sen, 1999) and the arrangement of social inclusion where people can develop their capabilities for a better livelihood (Qureshi, 2010).

Sen’s functionings and capabilities have been complemented with institutional forces in an analytical framework by Bass, Nicholson and Subrahmanian (2013). Ideally, the information society is seen as a ‘classless and conflictless’ inclusive community (Masuda, 1980), which strives to use technologies to:

  • Diminish structural barriers
  • Democratize information
  • Balance between power and dependency
  • Transform human values

However, in reality, it faces several challenges. For example:

  • Political and religious extremism
  • Infringement of privacy and security
  • Disparity of wealth and social disconnection
  • Digital divides in internet access (Choudrie and Vyas, 2014; Choudrie and Lee, 2004; Choudrie et al, 2003)
  • Changes in prevailing power dynamics with a blend of expected and unexpected consequences

We also experience the influence of social harmony on ICTs in the other direction. Where we can detect higher levels of social harmony (admittedly a somewhat subjective assessment) we can expect more desirable outcomes from ICT4D interventions. Specifically, more 'harmonious' communities that are:

  • Well-organised
  • Well-led
  • Have positive interpersonal relationships that foster motivated, capable, confident individuals
  • Already experienced with development

will experience better outcomes with ICTs than communities that do not score well on these attributes. 

Part of the challenge with scalability is therefore how to deal with the less harmonious (dis-functional) communities so that they can also benefit; i.e. how to stimulate social harmony - with ICTs - so the technology can contribute further to the human development indices that the SDGs and ICT4D targets.

As we unavoidably intermingle towards a complex information society, we need to critically investigate the roles of ICTs in the ‘social construction’ (Berger and Luckmann, 1967), especially in the contexts of peace-building processes, cooperation, and development of human capital for creating a harmonious ‘sustainable world’.

What could you contribute?

We encourage you to send us high quality research that explores the issues described above. Your approach could include:

  • Empirical quantitative studies
  • Studies focused on investigations, examinations, examples, critiques, perspective
  • Qualitative studies that consider case studies, observations, ethnography, interpretivism, experiments
  • Critical realism studies

Your paper should be either a full research paper (maximum 9000 words) or a practice paper (approximately 4000 words).

We especially welcome your insights into:

  • Social topics such as, gender, age, education, digital divide, social inclusion, exclusion and health
  • Technological or innovation topics such as, big data, open innovation, sustainability, environment, rural development, or governance, 
  • ICTs and minority groups
  • ICTs for cultural expression
  • ICTs facilitating cultural understanding
  • Community/society-based research that addresses ICTs and;
    -   community organisation
    -   leadership
    -   relationships across divides
    -   motivating development
    -   capacities for nurturing harmony
    -   confidence-building with minorities
    -   engendering/sharing development experience

Why should you contribute?

  • Your article will be published in a widely read and cited journal (impact factor 0.857)
  • Your research will be validated by a robust single-blind peer review process
  • You can share your research with colleagues using 50 e-prints provide free of charge
  • You can follow the impact of your research using My Authored Works

When can you contribute?

Now! We are seeking preliminary ideas in the form of abstracts by July 15th, 2017. We will send you comments on these by the end of July.

How can you contribute?

You have until January 31, 2018 to send us your final manuscript. All papers will be fully peer reviewed before acceptance.

We intend to publish this special issue in December 2018.

You will find the instructions for preparing your manuscript here. Please read these carefully.

You can send your contribution directly through the journal's submission site. When you upload please mark your paper “ICTs for promoting sustainable information society and harmony special issue”.

We will review each manuscript to ensure its topic is suitable for this special issue. Those that pass this stage will then be reviewed by at least two anonymous reviewers to ensure they conform to the high standards of the journal before they are accepted for publication.

You can contact the Editors directly if you need more information.


Aurobindo, S. (1972) The Life Divine. Book I (Omnipresent Reality and the Universe), Vol. 18-19, pp. 1-289, Pondicherry, India: Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Bass, J.M., Nicholson, B., Subrahmanian, E. (2013). A Framework Using Institutional Analysis and the Capability Approach in ICT4D. Information Technologies & International Development 9(1), 19–35.
Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. (1967). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. London: Penguin Books.
Choudrie, J. and Vyas, A. (2014). Silver Surfers Adopting and Using Facebook? A Quantitative Study of Hertfordshire, UK: Applied to organizational and social change. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 89: 293-305
Choudrie, J. and Lee, H.J. (2004). Broadband Development in South Korea: Institutional and Cultural Factors, European Journal of Information Systems, pp. 103-114.
Choudrie, J., Papazafeiropoulou, A. and Lee, H.J.  (2003). A Web of Stakeholders and Strategies: A Case of Broadband Diffusion in South Korea, Journal of Information Technology, 18, 4, pp. 281-291.
Islam, M.S. (2011). Creating opportunity by connecting the unconnected: Mobile phone based agriculture market information service for farmers in Bangladesh. Örebro Studies in Informatics, 4, Sweden: Örebro University
Masuda, Y. (1980) The Information Society as Post-Industrial Society. Tokyo: Institute for the Information Society
Mitchell, R.K., Agle, B.R., and Wood, D.J (1997) Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts. The Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853-886.
Qureshi, S. (2010). Extending human capabilities through information technology applications and infrastructures. Information Technology for development, 16(1), 1-3.
Sen, A. K. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford: OUP
Sein, M.K., & Harindranath, G. (2004). Conceptualising the ICT artifact: Towards understanding the role of ICT in national development. The Information Society, 20, 15-24

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