Development and emancipation: The information society and decision support systems in local authorities in Egypt.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the emancipatory promises and realities of information and communication technology (ICT) in Egypt. Design/methodology/approach – The combination of Habermasian and Foucauldian ideas implemented by a critical discourse analysis of the Egyptian Information Society Policy and interviews with employees of local decision support systems employees. Promises and rhetoric are contrasted with findings and questioned with regards to their validity. Findings – On the policy level, analysis shows that the emancipating rhetoric of ICT is not followed through. ICT is mostly seen as a means of attracting foreign direct investment. Neither political participation nor educational benefits are promoted seriously. On the local level, culture and organisational realities prevent individuals from exploiting the emancipatory potential of the technology. Originality/value – The combination of the Habermasian and Foucauldian approach exposes the problems of ICT use in developing countries. It shows that emancipation is used to legitimise ICT policies but is not taken seriously on a policy level in Egypt. Local implementations also fail to deliver on their promise. In order to have emancipatory effects, ICT policy and use will need to be reconsidered.
Citation:Stahl, B.C., McBride, N. and Elbeltagi, I. (2010) Development and emancipation: The information society and decision support systems in local authorities in Egypt. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 8 (1) pp.85 - 107.
Research Group:Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility