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Policy and Socio-Economic Contexts for IT Based Public Sector Reform in Postcolonial Developing Countries: The Contrived vs. the Actual

Policy and Socio-Economic Contexts for IT Based Public Sector Reform in Postcolonial Developing Countries: The Contrived vs. the Actual
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Author(s): James M. Njihia (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 27
Source title: Public Sector Reform Using Information Technologies: Transforming Policy into Practice
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Thanos Papadopoulos (University of Southampton, UK) and Panagiotis Kanellis (Ernst & Young and University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-839-2.ch002

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Abstract

IT based public sector reforms takes place within a contested policy and socio-economic context but one that often appears non-controversial since the pursuit of development is generally desirable. In this chapter we explore this context from two discursive perspectives, the dominant international ICT development dialogue associated with western institutions, and from postcolonial theory that emanates from reflections on the postcolonial condition found in most developing countries. They are presented as representing a contrived and an actual context respectively that give rise to policy-practice gaps. The discussion brings out the limitations of developmentalism when conceptualizing IT innovations and change in postcolonial developing countries, and suggests an approach that factors in postcolonial theory in bridging these gaps. This would strengthen existing innovative approaches and provide new analytical perspectives that factor in history, time, global geo-political structures, and the submerged potentially destabilizing voices in former colonies. Future research directions towards post-development and their challenges are also highlighted.

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