DECONSTRUCTING THE DISCOURSE OF THE GLOBAL DIGITAL DIVIDE IN THE AGE OF NEO-LIBERAL GLOBAL ECONOMY

Open Access
Author:
Hwang, Joonho
Graduate Program:
Mass Communications
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 04, 2006
Committee Members:
  • Jorge Reina Schement, Committee Chair
  • Richard Denny Taylor, Committee Member
  • Krishna Prasad Jayakar, Committee Member
  • Leif Jensen, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • the global digital divide
  • neo-liberalism
  • global economy
  • discourse
  • technology
  • development
Abstract:
The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the discourse of the global digital divide historically and discursively, using the critical discourse analysis, with a view to identifying that the discourse of the global digital divide is not only an emerging discourse in the current age of globalization, but also is the succession of the modernistic discourse of technology and development constructed by the dominant power countries since World War II. Historically, this study explored how dominant capitalist powers, mainly the United States, have promoted the discourse of technology and development to maintain and reproduce their hegemonic powers over less-developed areas. During the post-World War II, the Point Four program and modernization theory served to construct and propagate the Western-oriented and modernistic discourse of technology and development, characterized as the sharp dichotomy between ¡°Traditional-Bad¡± and ¡°Modern-Good.¡± In the age of neo-liberal globalization, the establishment of the Global Information Infrastructure and the WTO Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services were the double-headed apparatus that have created a new ground in which to reproduce and maintain the dominant capitalist powers led mainly by the U.S. in response to the decline of their economic and political supremacy since the 1970s. Discursively, this study analyzed a major policy report on the global digital divide co-authored by ITU and ORBICOM (2005) to address how the discourse of the global digital divide construct the discourse of technology and development? The critical textual analysis found that various linguistic features and discursive strategies in the policy report were constructed to promote the access-oriented technological development particularly in less-developed countries based on the modernistic and neo-liberal economic development, which have served to maintain and reproduce the dominant capitalist strategies of technology and development. Finally, from a perspective of human development as social inclusion, this study proposes the interdisciplinary approach to ICTs development for better policy implementation. It prioritizes to explore the uniqueness of social structures, social problems, and social relations in individual societies rather than to simply increase the levels of access to and usage of ICTs to overcome the problem of the global digital divide.