Posted to the Ethnos Project by on December 15th, 2015

Full Title: The Myth of the Universal User: Pursuing a Cultural Variable in ICT Design for Conflict Management through Quantitative Analysis: Implications from a Ugandan Case Study

This study took a novel experimental approach from the field of cognitive linguistics to quantitatively describe the impact of culture on the use of mobile information and communication technology (ICT) in the context of peace and conflict. Beginning with the hypothesis that ICT reflects a mono-cultural perspective for collecting and organizing information, this study tested how a failure to adapt at a cognitive level resulted in distorted narratives. This distortion has problematic implications for democratic participation in postconflict contexts and in data aggregation initiatives that inform policy decisions related to governance, election monitoring, human rights abuse reporting, and conflict management more broadly. Fieldwork from the Acholi region of Uganda supported the conclusion that current ICT tools used in conflict management contexts fundamentally distort the narratives they were designed to collect at a cognitive level. Findings from this research also presented avenues for software development around a new variable for cultural communication preference.

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