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Internet-Mediated Experiences of Underdevelopment: A Four-Country Survey of Academia

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Professional academics in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States have significantly different subjective experiences of Internet use. This difference appears not only in substantial inequalities of access, but also in a higher level of expectation and value placed on the Internet among Indonesians and secondarily Malaysians. These results, from a survey and interviews of teachers and researchers in the social sciences and humanities, are analyzed in the context of dependency theory within knowledge economies. While inadequate and unequal access to information and communication technology is a substantial problem, the article argues that emphasizing access, resource and skills development alone will not solve academic and other more general dependencies within knowledge economies. Rather, a simultaneous — if sometimes conflicting — emphasis on both infrastructural development and de-centered production of knowledge is called for.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore


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