Lecture 4, 5/31

From the “top-down” approaches of the cases discussed so far, in this class we will shift to taking a “bottom-up” approach to understanding both technology and poverty. On the one hand, the lecture tackles some of the shortcomings of statistical and metrics-based approaches to measuring and understanding poverty. We will explore how poverty is diversely experienced and how cross-national comparisons often conceal other dimensions of what it means to be poor. On the other, we will discuss the “appropriate technologies” movement in the wake of some of the consequences of large-scale, capital-intensive projects. This movement promoted a philosophy of accommodating indigenous cultures and producing benefits for the rural poor through direct access to ‘appropriate’ technologies (which we will discuss in the activity session). We will also arrive at a set of questions that we will subsequently use to understand the deployment and use of technology by the poor.

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