The Lost Sheep of ICT4D Literature

Gerard C. Raiti


Information communication technologies for development (ICT4D) is a new field of study that contains few grand theories compared to other areas of social science. This article analyzes some shortcomings of ICT4D research. First, there is juxtaposition between ICT4D's being a multidisciplinary field while its authors are predominantly not multidisciplinary. Second, ICT4D is not a panacea; it is only a piece of the development puzzle. ICTs alone cannot lead to social elevation. Third, who is responsible for the structure of ICT4D literature? Fourth, Habermas's public sphere is applied to mobile telephony in sub-Saharan Africa to demonstrate how ICT4D could expand upon the theoretical tradition within media studies. The conclusion recommends the creation of a global summit on ICT4D and more grand theories.


Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); Development; ICT4D; Social Science; Habermas; Public Sphere; Global Summit; Mobile Telephony; Africa; Theory

Full Text:


Creative Commons License
© USC Annenberg School for
Communication & Journalism 
Unless noted otherwise, all ITID content is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License