Signifiers of the life we value? – considering human development, technologies and Fair Trade from the perspective of the capabilities approach

Kleine, Dorothea, Light, Ann and Montero, Maria-José (2012) Signifiers of the life we value? – considering human development, technologies and Fair Trade from the perspective of the capabilities approach. Information Technology for Development, 18 (1). pp. 42-60. ISSN 0268-1102

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02681102.2011.643208

Abstract

This paper argues that the capabilities approach challenges us to co-design technologies with users in a way that expands the freedom of the user to live the life they themselves value. The aim is to show, with the help of a concrete example, our attempt at applying the capabilities approach to an information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) action research project. The objective of the Fair Tracing project was to support both producers and consumers in their decision-making in Fair Trade value chains by using information and communication technologies to provide them with information. Based on survey data, formal and informal interviews, group meetings, accompanied shopping and a design workshop with potential users, the project applied the bottom-up, participatory approach to technology design that the capabilities approach demands. Key challenges that were encountered included the competing capabilities of making informed buying decisions and of having more time. Action research and participatory design create important and challenging test settings for introducing the capabilities approach in ICT4D work.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: capabilities approach, Choice Framework, Fair Trade, ethical consumption, traceability, participation
Subjects: J900 Others in Technology
P100 Information Services
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Design > Design
Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Design > Design
Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Design > Design
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2013 12:25
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 11:06
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/10672

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