After the smartphone has arrived in the village. How practices and proto-practices emerged in an ICT4D project

Larry Stillman, Mauro Sarrica, Tom Denison, Anindita Sarker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


This paper presents a case study of an ICT4D project in rural Bangladesh, and examines the emergence of new practices connected through a theoretical lens. Social Practice Theory and different concepts of place provide a middle-range theory frame for interpretation. Two groups of 100 women living in different re-mote villages took part in the project and received smartphones and training. The project also established a call center and delivered timely agricultural information by voice, apps and SMS. A mixed design was used to evaluate the project pro-gress. A baseline survey was completed in the two areas before the project start-ed. After one year, the two groups of women involved in the project and two control groups completed a questionnaire on smartphone use practices. Episodic interviews were also conducted with a subsample of 40 participants. Project par-ticipants developed new skills and meanings associated with smartphones, which contributed to enhanced communication practices. The new practices and the emerging proto-practices at a micro-level also resulted in new perceptions of time and place and new locations for personal presence and interaction. The use of So-cial Practice Theory in conjunction with insights from theories of place provides a transferable framework with which to identify and emphasize what is meaningful to individuals and communities in the relationship between skills, materials and ideas with respect to different social-technical initiatives. In this regard, Social Practice and theories of place provide new insights into the integration of ICTs in development projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolving Perspectives on ICTs in Global Souths
Subtitle of host publication11th International Development Informatics Association Conference, IDIA 2020 Macau, China, March 25–27, 2020 Proceedings
EditorsDon Rodney Junio, Cecile Koopman
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783030520144
ISBN (Print)9783030520137
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Development Informatics Association Conference (IDIA) 2020 - United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society, Macau, Macao
Duration: 25 Mar 202127 Mar 2021
Conference number: 11th (Website) (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


ConferenceInternational Development Informatics Association Conference (IDIA) 2020
Abbreviated titleIDIA 2020
Internet address


  • Social Practice Theory
  • Place
  • Placefulness
  • Gender and ICTs
  • Bangladesh

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