Participatory Technologies: Affordances for Development
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This work-in-progress paper presents a line of research analysing the affordances of a range of participatory technologies for development. Affordances are the ‘actionable possibilities’ that are made possible (but not determined) by a technology. Participatory technologies are a range of technology-mediated practices used in participatory development initiatives, such as participatory video and participatory digital mapping. This research examines the relationship between technological artefacts, participatory processes and development outcomes and asks to what extent one contributes to another. As this is work-in-progress it is too early to draw firm conclusions however this paper identifies the need to distinguish between a participatory technology’s technical features, its functional affordances and the affordances of participatory video practices. Affordances seem to provide a potential conceptual means to bridge the relatively technocentric and realist approaches of some IS, HCI and ICT4D with the relatively anthrocentric and constructivist approaches of some STS and development studies.