Posted to the Ethnos Project by on February 19th, 2012


The global digital divide threatens to exclude millions of people from the potential benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially computers and the Internet. Many of these people live in rural, isolated and remote places of developing countries and are unlikely to be able to afford the cost of owning their own computers. However, NGOs, international aid agencies and governments are becoming increasingly aware of the potential that ICTs offer for rural development and poverty reduction and are creating more opportunities for providing wider access to them. This paper looks at how ICTs have contributed to the social development of a rural indigenous ethnic community. It focuses on the benefits of ICTs in recording and passing on their unique culture and traditions, something that is of considerable importance to the community. The research builds an understanding of the nature of cultural transmission within an indigenous community in East Malaysia and demonstrates how ICTs can bridge the digital divide by accentuating the importance of family, friends and other social interactions within a community in strengthening the processes of cultural transmission. Based on the findings, suggestions are offered for reinforcing social processes of cultural transmission with ICTs, in the form of a virtual museum and a community radio station.

About the Authors

For more about Charlotte Harris, please visit her website here.

And for more about Roger Harris, please visit his website here.

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