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[Commlist] "ICTs for Community Development": call for papers (American Behavioral Scientist)

Tue May 21 09:01:32 GMT 2019

Special Issue Call for Papers
American Behavioral Scientist

The American Behavioral Scientist invites submissions for a special issue on:

ICTs for Community Development: Bridging conceptual, theoretical and methodological boundaries

Guest Editors
Mauro Sarrica (Sapienza University, Rome)
Francesca Comunello (LUMSA University, Rome)
Simone Mulargia (Sapienza University, Rome)

Community Informatics (CI) (Denison et al., 2014) and Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) projects focus on the appropriation of ICTs and the design of information systems to meet the needs of communities. Ten years ago, Donner suggested that projects are often developed “in relative isolation from each other, separated by regions, and by disciplines” (Donner, 2008, p.140). While this situation has improved, a better integration between ICT4D and non-ICT4D models is still necessary in order to better grasp the socio-technical processes ICTs activate at the individual and community level, and beyond.

In particular, this special issue will address three main issues connected with CI and ICT4D projects: 1) There is a dearth of middle-range theorization capable of providing broader interpretative frameworks for ICT4D (Sarrica et al., 2017). Indeed, cross-fertilization is needed between CI, ICT4D, and broader theories on ICTs, in order to generate stronger interpretative frameworks. Moreover, theoretical models and method developed in the ‘global north’ and for a ‘general user’ could be refined by their application to marginalised communities and in a variety of cultural contexts.

2) CI and ICT4D projects typically consider “lived-in and situated communities not as passive recipients of technological opportunities, but as actors engaged in the comprehension and ‘doing’ of community problem solving directed to social progress” (Stillman and Linger, 2009, p. 256). However, the role of power in all the different phases of projects often remains in the background.

3) CI and ICT4D projects typically involve a range of researchers and participants reflecting different cultures, theoretical backgrounds and levels of training. These projects depend for their success on the ability to bridge differences. However, the harmonization between theoretical backgrounds, methodologies and practical constrains have heretofore proved problematic.

An emic approach to culture characterizes the three critical points outlined above and is at the base of the special issue. Its aim is to foster a thorough reflection of the importance of localized or context-specific issues in the design of research and intervention, with the purpose of improving the effectiveness and sustainability of community informatics and ICT4D projects.

Following these suggestions, aim of the special issue is to collect and put into dialogue theoretical, methodological, critical and applied contributions dealing with the variety of ICT uses in community development.

Potential topics include the following (contributions that cross several sections are encouraged):

1st Section – Theoretical advancement
Papers in this stream will focus on advancing theoretical models in CI & ICT4D. We expect papers which show how CI & ICT4D can challenge current models and further theoretical development in communication research. Issues relevant to this stream include: power in theory and implementation of ICT-based projects (e.g. critical approaches; power and CI projects); long term sustainability of projects (e.g. community ownership); impact, engagement and participation (e.g. engaging policy makers; top-down and bottom-up transformations); challenging power (e.g. advocacy; citizen journalism; social movement).

2nd Section – Methods and Epistemologies
Papers in this stream will focus on methodological choices in CI and ICT4D projects, including: methodological issues in ICT4D (e.g. entering the field; reliability and replication problems); innovative and cross-disciplinary methods (e.g. mixed methods approaches; use of social media; cross-disciplinary methodological insights); participation and co-design (e.g. lessons learned from participatory intervention; co-design and user’s experience); cultural diversity and intersectionality.

3rd Section – Lessons from the field
Papers in this stream will present evidences from particular cases (e.g. case studies, research-interventions, international cooperation initiatives); examples of community intervention (e.g. working with rural, marginalized and vulnerable communities); group processes and cultural aspects (e.g. ICTs and myths; cultural specificities).

Submission Schedule

Abstract submission – 30 June
You are cordially invited to submit an abstract of no more than 500 words.
Notifications of acceptance to prepare a full paper will be made by mid-July. Please email your abstract to: (f.comunello /at/ <mailto:(f.comunello /at/>

The deadline for submissions of full papers is 30 October 2019
Manuscripts must adhere to the APA 6th Edition Style  and should contain between 5000 and 6000 words (including abstract and all references, notes, tables, etc.).
Manuscript will undergo blind review process.

Notification of 1st round of review 20 January 2020

Submission deadline for revised manuscript 16 March 2020

Final decision, end of April 2020

In the event of any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the co-editors.
Francesca Comunello (f.comunello /at/ <mailto:(f.comunello /at/>
Simone Mulargia (simone.mulargia /at/ <mailto:(simone.mulargia /at/>
Mauro Sarrica (mauro.sarrica /at/ <mailto:(mauro.sarrica /at/>

Denison, T., Sarrica, M., & Stillman, L. (Eds.) (2014). Theories, Practices and Examples for Community and Social Informatics. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing Donner, J. (2008). Research Approaches to Mobile Use in the Developing World: A Review of the Literature. The Information Society, 24(3), 140–159. Sarrica, M., Denison, T., Stillman, L., Chakraborty, T., & Auvi, P. (2017). “What do others think?” An emic approach to participatory action research in Bangladesh. AI & SOCIETY. Stillman, L., & Linger, H. (2009). Community Informatics and Information Systems: can they be better connected?. The Information Society, 25(4), 255-264.

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