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Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 93–106 | Cite as

Human capabilities and information and communication technology: the communicative connection

  • William F. BirdsallEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The potential contributions information and communication technology (ICT) can make to advancing human capabilities are acknowledged by both the capability approach (CA) and ICT communities. However, there is a lack of genuine engagement between the two communities. This paper addresses the question: How can a collaborative dialogue between the CA and ICT communities be advanced? A prerequisite to exploring collaboratively the potential use of particular technologies with specific capabilities is a conceptual framework within which a dialogue can be undertaken to advance the operationalization of capabilities through the use of ICT. A communicative connection constituted of a dialogic space consisting of the CA and ICT communities and a set of normative values and objectives is proposed. The normative values of the communicative connection are derived from the human right to communicate (RTC) which serves as axiomatic principle of the communicative connection. The shared objectives are to operationalize through the use of ICT both the capability and the right to communicate, which are distinct but present in and reinforce each other. Alternative concepts of communication and freedom of expression to those held by the two communities is presented along with a comparison of the values embodied in the RTC and found in the CA.

Keywords

Capability approach community Information and communication technology community Right to communicate Communicative connection Dialogic space 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BedfordCanada

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