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Title:Digital futures and analogue pasts? Citizenship and ethnicity in techno-utopian Kenya
Author:Poggiali, Lisa
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:information technology
national identity
ethnic relations
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972016000942
Abstract:In this article, the author explores how digital technologies in Kenya emerged as a site through which questions of citizenship were posed, if not resolved, at a moment of national crisis. She draws attention, specifically, to the ways in which developers, bloggers and state actors mobilized techno-utopian narratives about Kenya's 'Silicon Savannah' to advocate for what she calls 'digital citizenship', an ethical blueprint for how best to belong to the nation. While social scientists writing about ICT in Africa have focused primarily on Africans' novel uses of objects such as mobile phones, she contributes to this conversation by interrogating how digital technologies have been mobilized as an idiom to both challenge and perpetuate social cleavages of ethnicity and class. 'Digital citizenship', she suggests, compels us to revisit debates about (post)colonial history, ideologies that undergird digitality, and the formation of local, national and transnational scales of belonging. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]